Cover 9781785908057

Westminster and Whitehall are secret worlds, hidden to most. But working as a lobby journalist, former Labour Party staffer Andy McSmith has had exclusive access to our top politicians for decades. Here, he shares his personal encounters with the great and the good of the British political landscape, revealing what they are really like behind the scenes.

With witty and perceptive flair, he describes encounters such as flying to Tokyo with Margaret Thatcher, the last Prime Minister who would walk fearlessly into a room full of journalists, unprotected by special advisers; dining with Sir Edward Heath, a man who knew how to hold a grudge, in his home in Salisbury; observing Gordon Brown and Tony Blair as new MPs, sharing a cramped office in Parliament and collaborating like brothers; and working with Boris Johnson back when he had an ambition to be something more than just a journalist.

Filled with vivid portraits of those at the heart of British politics over the past forty years, Strange People I Have Known is a memoir of a life well lived and an insider’s account of the inner workings of government.


“As well as being one of the leading political journalists of his generation, Andy McSmith’s varied life has brought him into contact with a huge variety of people, high and low, whom he describes with an acute eye for character. His book Strange People I Have Known is a fast-paced and entertaining read that brings deep insight into British political life.” 

Bill Browder

“A fascinating memoir which gives a revelatory insider’s account of the biggest political names from the past few decades, interwoven with evocative reflections on the many colourful characters who have peppered McSmith’s own life.”

Pippa Crerar

“An addictive memoir that fizzes with anecdotes. If you like top-level political gossip and insights written with panache, look no further.”

Gary Gibbon

“This is not just a beautifully written book. It is also creaking at the seams with anecdotes about the good, the bad and the downright ugly who run our country … A wonderful book full of insights, slights, sackings and sinners.”

Jerry Hayes, Literary Review
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  • Hardback, 400 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785908057
  • 11 May 2023
  • £25.00
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  • ISBN: 9781785908088
  • 11 May 2023
  • £19.99
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