GB News: Why did Andrew Neil quit the new 'British Fox News' channel? Here's what Neil said about GB News - and what will he do now?

Andrew Neil appeared on BBC Question Time on Thursday evening and spoke about his sudden departure from right wing TV channel GB News – here’s what he said about his decision

Friday, 17th September 2021, 1:10 pm
GB News: Why did Andrew Neil quit the new 'British Fox News' channel? Here's what Neil said about GB News - and what will he do now? (Image credit: Yui Mok/PA)

Scottish journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil took to Twitter earlier this week to announce that he had quit new British TV news channel, GB News, as both chairman and presenter.

The channel launched in June after several months in the making, but has since been plagued by technical difficulties, on-air drama and dwindling viewing figures.

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GB News launched in June with Neil saying it would not "slavishly follow the existing news agenda", would cover "the stories that matter to you and those that have been neglected" and deliver "a huge range of voices that reflect the views and values of our United Kingdom".

Here’s what Andrew Neil has said about his decision to quit GB News.

Why did Andrew Neil leave GB News?

Neil announced his departure from the new broadcasting channel on Twitter earlier this week after he took a break from the channel just two weeks after it launched.

On Monday (13 September), the Scottish journalist tweeted to his 1.1million followers on the platform:

“It’s official: I have resigned as Chairman and Lead Presenter of GB News.”

Later, Neil issued the following statement: “I am sorry to go but I have concluded it’s time to reduce my commitments on a number of fronts.

"Over the summer I’ve had time to reflect on my extensive portfolio of interests and decided it was time to cut back."

He added: “I wish GB News well in continuing to fulfil its founding promise and mission to reach audiences currently underserved by existing news broadcasters.”

What did Andrew Neil say on Question Time?

Andrew Neil said he stepped down as chairman of GB News after differences over the direction the channel was heading.

Neil told Question Time the launch of the channel could not be described as a "startling success" and that he felt he was in a "minority of one" about its future.

"More and more differences emerged between myself and the other senior managers and the board of GB News," he said.

"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.

"The route is what I think you can see on GB News at the moment, people should make up their own minds what they want to watch."

What will Andrew Neil do now?

The journalist and broadcaster will continue in his current position as chairman of Press Holdings, which owns British political weekly magazine, The Spectator, and ITP Media Group.

Neil has held the position of chairman of The Spectator since 2008, after The Scotsman was sold by Press Holdings to Johnston Press in 2005.

Who else has left GB News?

Welsh journalist and broadcaster Guto Harri quit the channel following a row over him taking the knee during a debate on the racism directed towards England football players, while other staff members have reportedly left.

A number of big UK names joined the channel for its launch including ITV News journalist Alastair Stewart, BBC journalist Simon McCoy and and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero.

After Neil's announcement on Monday, a statement from GB News said: "Andrew is without doubt one of the finest journalists and interviewers in this country.

"GB News thanks him for his 12 months of leadership, wisdom and advice and we wish him well."

Additional reporting by PA reporter Alexander Britton

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