What does it take to be a successful prime minister and why have so few been up to the job? They come to office with big dreams but end up crushed by the pressures of the position. “I don’t know why anyone would want the job,” the Queen apparently remarked to Boris Johnson. Contemporary historian Anthony Seldon (The Impossible Office?) and political journalist Steve Richards (The Prime Ministers We Never Had) talk to Georgina Godwin about the demands of the role, what we look for in our leaders – indeed, why some prominent figures never make it to the top – and what has driven and defined success and failure for our prime ministers throughout history.

Books available to accompany this event

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from our Waterstones Cheltenham Literature Festival bookshop.

Every purchase supports Cheltenham Festivals.

The Impossible Office?: The History of the British Prime Minister The Prime Ministers We Never Had: Success and Failure from Butler to Corbyn


The Garden Theatre

The Garden Theatre is situated in Montpellier Gardens, the main site of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival in the heart of Cheltenham, GL50 1UW.

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