Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman (born 5 May 1986)[1] is an English political journalist and the assistant editor of The Spectator. In 2015, she was named Journalist of the Year at the Political Studies Association's annual awards.

Isabel Hardman
Hardman chairing a Policy Exchange debate, September 2014
Born (1986-05-05) 5 May 1986 (age 35)
Camden, London, England
Alma materUniversity of Exeter
Known forAssistant editor, The Spectator
Partner(s)John Woodcock

Early life

Born in Camden, Isabel Hardman is the daughter of Michael Hardman, the first chairman and one of the four founders of the Campaign for Real Ale.[2] She attended St Catherine's School, Bramley, and Godalming College, before graduating from the University of Exeter with a first-class degree in English literature in 2007.[3][4] While at university, Hardman worked as a freelance journalist for The Observer.[5] She completed a National Council for the Training of Journalists course at Highbury College in 2009.[4]


Hardman began her career in journalism as a senior reporter for Inside Housing magazine. She then became assistant news editor at PoliticsHome, moving to The Spectator in 2012. In September 2014, GQ magazine named her as one of their 100 most connected women in Britain,[3] and in December 2015, she was named "Journalist of the Year" at the Political Studies Association's annual awards.[6] She is currently the assistant editor of The Spectator.[7] She appears on television programmes such as Question Time,[8] The Andrew Marr Show and Have I Got News for You,[9] and is a presenter of the BBC Radio 4 programme Week in Westminster.[3] She hosts The Spectator Podcast. She also writes a monthly column for the i paper[10] on health policy and a weekly column for the Evening Standard[11] on nature in London.

Personal life

In April 2016, Hardman tweeted that a male member of Parliament had referred to her as "the totty" and that she had reported him to the whips. She was not intending to name the man[12] who was subsequently revealed to be the Conservative MP Bob Stewart.[13]

Hardman has written about suffering from depression, and in October 2016 wrote that she had stopped working temporarily due to anxiety and depression.[14] She has said that, in 2017, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, due to a serious trauma in her personal life.[15] She wrote that her recovery was partly down to time spent outdoors: she is a cold-water swimmer, and in 2019 ran the London Marathon for Refuge, raising £37,000 for the charity.

Since 2016, Hardman has been in a relationship with John Woodcock, then Labour Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness.[16][17] In November 2019, Woodcock announced that he and Hardman were expecting a child and he would not be standing as a parliamentary candidate at the forthcoming general election.[18]

Hardman gave birth to a son, Jacob, in 2020.[19]


  • Hardman, Isabel (2018), Why We Get the Wrong Politicians, Atlantic Books, London, UK ISBN 978-1782399735
  • Hardman, Isabel (2020), The Natural Health Service, Atlantic Books, London, UK ISBN 978-1786495907


  1. Hardman, Isabel [@IsabelHardman] (5 May 2017). "People who don't make a massive deal of their birthdays -even random ones like a 31st, for instance - are in my view quite odd" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  2. Hardman, Isabel (31 December 2015). "The honours system is entrenching elitism in British society by rewarding political work". The Independent. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  3. "GQ and Editorial Intelligence's 100 Most Connected Women 2014". GQ.
  4. "Isabel Hardman". National Council for the Training of Journalists. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  5. Hardman, Isabel (17 September 2006). "Are students getting value for their £9,000 ?". The Observer. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  6. Nelson, Fraser (1 December 2015). "The Spectator's Isabel Hardman named Journalist of the Year". The Spectator. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  7. "Isabel Hardman". Spectator Blogs.
  8. "Westminster political week round up with Isabel Hardman". BBC News. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  9. HaveIGotNewsForYou [@haveigotnews] (13 October 2017). "Tonight @RichardAyoade hosts #HIGNFY, with guest panellists @IsabelHardman and Andy Hamilton. @BBCOne, 9pm" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  10. "Isabel Hardman , Author at". Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  11. "Isabel Hardman | Evening Standard". Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  12. "MP apologises for calling female political journalist 'totty'". The Daily Telegraph. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  13. Allegretti, Aubrey (14 April 2016). "Bob Stewart MP Dismisses Row Over 'Totty' Slur As 'Political Correctness'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  14. Hardman, Isabel. "How we do (and don't but should) treat depression". Medium. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  15. Harman, Isabel (28 December 2020). "Giving birth seemed to spell disaster for my mental health. Were my anxieties unfounded?". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  16. Isabel Hardman,, 'Medium', 30 March 2018
  17. Dickson, Annabelle (13 September 2017). "Westminster's power couples". POLITICO. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  18. Woodcock, John [@JWoodcockMP] (4 November 2019). "Some sad news prompted by wonderful news - I've decided not to re-stand in the general election because @IsabelHardman and I are having a baby! 🤰🏻 Letter to my constituents:" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  19. Hardman, Isabel [@IsabelHardman] (13 May 2020). "Our son, Jacob Arran Henry Woodcock, arrived safely last night" (Tweet). Retrieved 3 April 2021 via Twitter.