United Kingdom

Andrew Neil suggests he quit GB News because it was 'not my kind of journalism'

Andrew Neil has said he quit GB News because he was concerned about the direction the channel was taking and said he was in a "minority of one" among senior managers and the board.

Mr Neil told the BBC's Question Time that he did not want to work for a "British Fox", referring to the Right-wing US news channel, saying it is "not my kind of journalism" and claiming the channel "deals in untruths, it deals in conspiracy theories, and it deals in fake news".

But when asked by host Fiona Bruce if he left GB News because it was too Right-wing, Mr Neil refused to answer and instead said people should "make up their own minds".

Mr Neil resigned on Monday, stepping down as presenter and chairman only three months after the channel's launch.

GB News recruited Mr Neil alongside a number of big names including ex-BBC newsreader Simon McCoy and ITV's Alastair Stewart but since its launch in June it has struggled for ratings. On Thursday night Mr Neil admitted that "you couldn't file the launch under 'startling success'".

In his first appearance on television since leaving GB News, Mr Neil was asked by a member of the Question Time audience whether the channel would become a "new British Fox News". Mr Neil replied: "That is not my kind of journalism and I would never have set out to do that."

The former Sunday Times editor BBC journalist was then pressed by Ms Bruce on why he left and he said: "I will let you draw your own conclusions as to why I am here tonight and not with GB News."

He added: "In the run-up to the launch, through the launch and in the aftermath of the launch – and I think most of you who know anything about it will know you couldn't file the launch under 'startling success' – more and more differences emerged between myself and the other senior managers and the board of GB News.

"And rather than these differences narrowing, they got wider and wider and I felt it was best that if that's the route they wanted to take then that's up to them, it's their money."

Ms Bruce then asked again if Mr Neil felt the channel was too Right-wing and he said: "People should make up their own minds on that.

"What I have told you is the differences were such that the direction they were going in was not the direction that I had outlined. It was not the direction that I had envisaged for the channel and I was in the minority of one.

"So it is doing what it is doing and it is up to them. Good luck to them if that is what they want to do – but it wasn't going to be with me."

The Telegraph revealed earlier this month that Mr Neil was set to quit after relations with chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos broke down. Mr Frangopoulos, a former executive for Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News Australia, is understood to be a driving force behind the channel's planned swing to the Right.

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