Adam Boulton launches his new show at Labour conference
The Sky News presenter reveals the thinking behind All Out Politics.
Adam Boulton is checking his Twitter feed, having just finished presenting the first edition of his new show live from the Labour conference in Liverpool.
As ever on the social media platform, there is the odd rogue comment. But Boulton looks largely satisfied with what he has seen on his screen.
“There is always an element of negativity or trolling or whatever,” says the presenter. “But sometimes people actually say some quite interesting things.”
He adds: "Sometimes we look while we’re on air because you can get some responses back. Also we’re our own hucksters these days, so you use social media to try and drum up interest and participation.”
For Boulton’s new morning show, that public participation is more pertinent than ever. All Out Politics is a key component of a refreshed schedule on Sky News and is billed as “investigating what it means to leave the EU… and asking the questions the public want answered”.
Boulton explains that the programme is the result of a long conversation he had with Sky News boss John Ryley about much how much politics had changed recently.
“We had a kind of ‘who’d have thunk it’ conversation about people like Corbyn and Trump gaining their positions of power, and obviously about Brexit.
“And we both felt that some of the common assumptions that have been expressed in mainstream politics and by the mainstream media were eroding a bit, that perhaps there had been too much focus on top figures in parties and not enough focus on what’s going on what’s going on underneath the grassroots.”
Among the guests on the first show were the union leader Dave Prentis and the Labour MPs Kate Hoey and Caroline Flint.
“There are issues in the public sector that you would routinely have Dave Prentis on for. But we asked him about fracking, how he feels about democracy in the party, who’s calling the shots. That we hope is getting under the surface,” says Boulton.
On Hoey and Flint: “Around the issue of Brexit they disagree but they are both people who have ideas on policy and how the party should be developing… and that’s what we want to do, to get people expressing their opinions and their positions as much as their personal rivalries.”
Launch editor Ben Munroe-Davies suggests that previous political programmes may have missed a trick by only talking to established political figures. “There are voices out there that we clearly missed… we weren’t in touch as we might have been”.
Discussing new the segment, he adds: “I think Brexit is as much about the divisions as the decisions itself.”
Hence getting two strangers on opposite sides of the Brexit fence to chew over the issue in a restaurant.
For Boulton, the Labour conference is the perfect launch pad for the new show.
He says: “From a journalistic point of view, Labour is very fertile territory, because basically discipline has broken down, so a lot of people are expressing their opinions and still feeling their way.”
Soon the show will be hosted from Sky's studio in Westminster. But first, Boulton takes the show to Birmingham for the Conservative party conference next week. And the heavyweight presenter reckons he could have quite a challenge on his hands.
“The signs are that Theresa May trying to force a lot of discipline on her party, so we’ll probably have to work a bit harder to get a proper discourse rather than official sloganeering going on,” he says.
“But the key area where they really have got to start coming up with answers is Brexit – because we still don’t know what it means or even where they’re heading.”
All Out Politics is on Sky News on weekdays between 10 and 11am.