Latest Issue

I’ll tell you, and you’ll listen: the one thing successful opposition leaders all have in common

Shadowing the PM brings prominence, but mostly not power. To reach No 10, Labour must pick a leader who can do one thing above all else: teach

By Steve Richards   March 2020

What can history teach us about how to be an effective leader of the opposition? Photo: Prospect composite

Once again a contest takes place to elect a leader of the opposition, perhaps the toughest job in British politics. You might think the prime minister faces more varied responsibilities and nerve-shredding decisions, but the person across the despatch box has a task that is much less clearly defined. He or she cannot be judged by the implementation of policy, only by words and deeds. The role is closer to an art form. The leader of the opposition must appear “prime ministerial” in order to succeed and yet has none of the levers available to the actual prime…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect