Isabel Hardman is Assistant Editor of the Spectator magazine and presenter of Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster. In 2015, she was named the youngest ever Political Journalist of the Year by the Political Studies Association.
She regularly writes political columns for a number of other publications, including The Times, Sunday Times, Observer, Sun, Evening Standard, and the Independent.
Isabel began her career in journalism as a senior reporter for Inside Housing magazine. She then became assistant news editor at PoliticsHome. In 2014, GQ magazine named her as one of their 100 most connected women in Britain.
Isabel has been based in the parliamentary press gallery for four years, and is also a regular guest on programmes such as the Andrew Marr Show, Newsnight and the Today programme. She has appeared on Question Time, Have I Got News For You and The News Quiz. Previously she was Assistant News Editor at PoliticsHome.com and her first job was as a reporter on Inside Housing magazine.
In October 2016, Isabel Hardman's mind, in her own words, 'stopped working' as she fell prey to severe depression and anxiety. She took time off on long-term sick leave and despite several relapses returned to work with a much improved ability to cope.
She has since become one of the UK's most prominent public voices on mental health, commenting that, in 2017, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to a serious trauma in her personal life. She wrote that her recovery was partly down to time spent outdoors: Isabel’s a cold-water swimmer and has also run the London Marathon.
Isabel Hardman’s first book, Why We Get the Wrong Politicians, published in 2018 was shortlisted for Waterstones’ 2018 Book of the Year, won Book of the Year by a non-parliamentarian at the Parliamentary Book Awards, and was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize.
In this searching examination of our political class, Isabel tries to square the circle as to why politicians are consistently voted the least trusted professional group by the UK public; because, with some notable exceptions, they are decent, hardworking people doing a hugely difficult and demanding job.
Yet, a select but nevertheless unacceptable few, have become embroiled in scandals concerning sexual harassment and expenses. Every year, they introduce new legislation that doesn't do what it sets out to achieve - often with terrible financial and human costs.
Isabel Hardman lifts the lid on the strange world of Westminster and asks why we end up with representatives with whom we are so unhappy. Filled with forensic analysis and revealing reportage, the book is a must-listen for anyone who wants to see a future with better government.
Then, in 2020, Isabel published her second book, The Natural Health Service, about the benefits to our mental and physical well-being of spending time in nature. Straight-talking, thoroughly-researched and compassionate, Isabel draws on personal experience, interviews with mental illness sufferers and psychologists, and the latest research to examine what role wildlife and exercise can play in helping anyone cope with mental illness.
Her third book, Fighting for Life: The Twelve Battles that Made Our NHS, and the Struggle for Its Future, published in 2023, is a gripping, provocative exploration of the National Health Service, told through the most critical moments in its history, and published for the 75th anniversary of its foundation.
From its nurses, its doctors and its patients to the politicians who decide its fate, drawing on interviews with key decision-makers, from former Prime Ministers and Health Secretaries to NHS bosses, as well as access to the patients and key workers at the beating heart of the health service, Isabel Hardman reveals with trademark incisiveness a chequered history that is by turns uplifting and alarming.
Cutting through sentimentality and sloganeering on all sides of the political spectrum, she shows us how our NHS really works, and what it means for our future.
Isabel Hardman is the daughter of Michael Hardman, the first chairman and one of the four founders of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).