Andrew Neil is a titan of British journalism so it is a pity to see him resign from GB News

Andrew Neil is one of a growing number of people in high-profile jobs who are working into their 70s and beyond.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 1:08 pm
News Letter editorial

The broadcaster was born in the first half of 1949, months after Prince Charles, Gerry Adams and Peter Robinson — all of whom are also active septuagenarians.

Being well past the traditional retirement age of sixty something, it is hardly surprising that Mr Neil wants to reduce his many work commitments.

Even so, his comments on why he is stepping down as chair of the GB News channel seem not to tell the whole story.

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Had relations between him and the chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos broken down over the direction of the channel? Did he think Nigel Farage was too dominant in the fledgling station?

Andrew Neil is a titan of British journalism. He spent a decade at the helm of the Sunday Times, and was highly respected in that job, then had multiple roles at the BBC.

In that latter capacity he was a feared but admired presenter, always well-briefed and forensic in his grilling of politicians. Few observers accused him of bias, even though he had edited a paper seen as right wing.

Neil says of the channel he is departing: “I wish GB News well in continuing to fulfil its founding promise and mission to reach audiences currently underserved by existing news broadcasters.”

There is no doubt that such audiences exist, above all that large section of the UK that is patriotic, does not subscribe to hyper-liberal social values, and which has good reason to believe that the BBC is reflexively biased against them.

If anyone understands subtle but persistent media bias, unionists do.

GB News needs Nigel Farage but it also needs Andrew Neil. It is a pity the latter won’t have his own show but it is at least good to hear that he will continue to be a commentator.

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