Steve Richards

Established as one of the most influential political commentators in the country, Steve Richards became The Independent’s chief political commentator in 2000 having been political editor of the New Statesman. He presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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Commons Speaker John Bercow has written to the three main party leaders in a bid to improve PMQs

The public thinks MPs are on another planet – so why stop John Bercow trying to bring them back to earth?

He is the first Speaker in the modern era to be a substantial reformer, and some of the traditionalists are uneasy

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband laugh while listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's address to both Houses of Parliament

What now for Cameron, Miliband and Clegg? After a poor election, each party leader has an acute identity crisis to face

Cameron’s party will not tolerate a repeat of his Blair-like attempt at a public identity

Local election results 2014: Hatred of elected politicians has led to this outcome

Sometimes a small volcano erupts in politics and there is little the main parties can do about it.

Nigel Farage in Essex yesterday; Ukip gained about 150 seats in the local elections

The real surprise is that Ukip did not do better

Now we can discern the haziest outlines of the next 12 months

Ukip leader Nigel Farage looked increasingly uncomfortable as he was grilled on LBC

Faragemania simply cannot last - these European elections will be the crest of his power

An ideological vacuum gives space for populist to rise and appeal across the spectrum

Despite appearances, it’s Miliband, not Farage, who’s breaking with tradition and upsetting the status quo

If voters want more of the same they must choose between Farage and Cameron

It would help the Tories to lose the 2015 general election

That way they avoid a crisis that could wreck the party

I’m not a fan of referendums. But giving the public a chance to voice their opinion could be the only way to improve the NHS

No politician is allowed to pledge a penny of extra spending on any cause

A Ministry for Complaints might sound like something out of Monty Python, but if it improves public services, bring it on

I am still waiting for a refund I claimed from a train company a year ago

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