Once an MP...Gyles Brandreth
Want to get ahead in politics? Or simply curious to know the byzantine and bizarre rules of the game? Gyles Brandreth has some witty and illuminating insights into how to scale the Westminster ladders while avoiding being bitten by the snakes.
Gyles Brandreth became the Conservative MP for Chester in 1992 and three years later became a junior member of John Major's government. He lost his seat in the Labour landslide of 1997.
His was one of parliament's more unusual careers. His entry in Who's Who - one of the longer ones - encompasses mentions of a teddy-bear museum, the National Scrabble Championships and the world record for the longest after-dinner speech.
Even in parliament he could not escape his past - being mocked by John Prescott for his love of woolly jumpers.
His insight of Parliament and government was revealed in his acclaimed diaries of the Major years. And over four series of Sunday Supplements comes more advice for the wannabe politician.
In 'Brandreth on Office', first broadcast on The Westminster Hour in 2001, the one-time MP spills the beans on getting to the top - even half-way up - the famous greasy-pole of political achievement.
In Part One, Gyles Brandreth gives tips on becoming an MP for the first time.
In Part Two, he explains how to survive as an MP once you have been elected to Parliament.
In Part Three, Gyles Brandreth explores what life is like when you become a minister.
In 'The Brandreth Rules', first broadcast on The Westminster Hour in July 2003, Gyles Brandreth lays out his advice on the do's and don'ts of political life.
With the help of former colleagues and adversaries, including ex-Tory cabinet ministers Kenneth Clarke and Gillian Shepherd, he passes on the experience he picked up in five years in Parliament.
In Part Two, Gyles Brandreth talked about how to survive in the Westminster Jungle.
In Part Three, he revealed the mysteries of the Whips Office. A former Tory whip himself, he advises the aspiring politico how to deal with the disciplinary branch.
In Part Four, Gyles Brandreth explained how politicians should cope with political scandal - whether it's a moment of madness on Clapham Common, a torrid affair with a prime minister to be or a pinch of perjury in a libel trial.
Gyles Brandreth returned with more tips in another series of 'The Brandreth Rules', first broadcast on The Westminster Hour in January 2005.
In Part One he warned the ambitious politico: enjoy power while it lasts.
In Part Two, he offered some tips on how to stay at the top, and, as importantly, advice on how to depart with some dignity.
For decades members of political parties have congregated in seaside resorts for their annual conferences. For some those unseasonal trips to the seaside are the highlight of the year. But they're also a gruelling test of stamina. So how to survive them ?
In 'The Brandreth Rules for Party Conference', first broadcast on The Westminster Hour in the Autumn of 2005, Gyles Brandreth offers his own tips.
In Part One, he reveals how to survive the week at the seaside - from booking accommodation to getting enough sleep.
In Part Two, Gyles Brandreth asked how the ambitious politician fashion a speech to rouse them in the Winter Gardens. He has his tips to guarantee a standing ovation and turn yourself into a conference darling.
In Part Three, he exposes the plotting that goes on at the seaside - the ear-bending, arm-twisting, and back-stabbing. What tips are there for successful subterfuge?
Following the series, Gyles Brandreth made a speech of his own to the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool on Thursday 6 October 2005.