Matthew Parris

The Times

Over the year past, Parris has returned time and again to the danger the previous prime minister and his approach to government posed both to good governance in the United Kingdom and to the health and reputation of his own party. It is almost seven years since he started sounding these warnings, as prescient as they are merciless.

To this can be added his early evisceration of Truss, before she had set foot in Downing Street. 'She's crackers,' he said. 'It isn't going to work.' Those two sentences epitomise why Parris is a must-read on a Saturday. His writing sparkles, his observations are piercing and his insight is pinpoint accurate.

His interests, though, range way beyond Westminster. He has a feel for the great currents that drive events - populism, the growing influence of 'direct' democracy, the diminishing respect in which institutions of state are held, and the vulgarisation of political thinking. And causes. His column on the injustice of 3,000 inmates serving life terms who have no place behind bars is a perfect example of columnist as campaigner.