John Pienaar – Keynote Speaker

Insightful Westminster commentator, Presenter, Times Radio Host, Former Chief Political Correspondent for Radio 5 Live

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Specialist Subjects

  • Current affairs
  • Politics
  • Radio and television broadcasting
  • Journalism


  • English


John Pienaar was the BBC’s Deputy Political Editor and presenter of the weekly Westminster round-up, Pienaar’s Politics on Radio 5Live. A seasoned reporter, he sees his job as cutting a path through the forest of spin and evasion, a role he maintains as Times Radio on their Drive show, and his discussion show Pienaar and Friends. Ever since his original, often controversial parliamentary sketch for The Independent, John has acted as tour guide and translator of goings-on in the Westminster village.

Prior to spending almost three decades at the BBC, John trained at South London Press, covering whatever was occurring on his doorstep – be it street crime, domestic disputes, sex, drugs or rock’n’roll. He then became an Old Bailey Correspondent and even wrote an angling column, without ever having held a fishing rod.

Instantly recognisable to television news audiences, John has spent hundreds of hours standing in the rain outside 10 Downing Street. He was also invited to take part in a celebrity boxing show, only for it to be cancelled for fear that someone might get hurt. Picking up this theme in his after-dinner speeches, John has reflected on what would happen if the public were to vote for MPs by means of a reality TV show.

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