David Dimbleby is stepping down after 25 years presenting Question Time. As ever, Guido gives you your runners and riders…
- Kirsty Wark: The early hot favourite. Question Time is produced in Glasgow, where Wark lives, and they have always wanted to be produced full time from that location. Wark recently declared her interest in the job, in an interview which suggested she knew this was coming and wanted to roll the pitch. Kirsty’s Newsnight shifts have been cut down now Evan Davis and Emily Maitlis do an equal number of programmes. Newsnight editor Esme Wren may be keen to privately push for Kirsty so she can hire her own special correspondent / third presenter. Would be a very logical move…
- Emily Maitlis: The perceived wisdom at the Beeb is that it has to be a woman, and Maitlis is closely in behind Wark as the early second favourite. Emily has been at Newsnight for over a decade. She will be up there.
- Andrew Neil: If the BBC wanted the broadcast veteran who is the best at holding waffling, question-dodging politicians to account, Brillo would be a shoo in. Not sure what it would mean for his post-Question Time show This Week, alas. It would trigger Owen Jones and Andrew Adonis…
- Huw Edwards: Huw has been waiting for Dimbleby to retire for years. The Beeb originally promised him that 2015 would be Dimbleby’s last election, at which point he could take on his responsibilities, only for Dimbers to stick around for the referendum and 2017 general too. Edwards has long been seen as Dimbleby’s successor…
- Emma Barnett: Rising star who would liven the show up and put the fear into the guests. Guido can see her in the chair one day. But has it come a bit too soon for her this time round?
- Mishal Husain: Would she want to do it if it means not being the lead Today programme presenter in the post-Humphrys future? Her audition hosting the BBC’s 2017 election debate did not go to plan…
- Kirsty Young: Has been at Desert Island Discs since 2006. Though she doesn’t need the money and might not fancy the hassle.
- Jeremy Vine: Last week Vine announced he is replacing Matthew Wright on Channel 5 and juggling that show with his Radio 2 gig. Bet he’s kicking himself…
- Fiona Bruce: Seen a less exciting but safe option.
- Nick Robinson: Another not very exciting option.
- Victoria Derbyshire: Quite a step up from her current programme.
- Eddie Mair: Could he take the pay cut?
- Matthew Wright: Hotly tipped by Buzzfeed media man Mark Di Stefano.
Carole Codswallop has done it again. The top Observer sleuth has been forced to delete yet more error-strewn tweets after launching an unhinged attack on the BBC. During her meltdown last night about Isabel Oakeshott being invited onto Question Time, Codswallop launched a pile-on against the Beeb’s head of live political programmes, Rob Burley, demanding an explanation. Her tweet tagging Burley was retweeted more than a thousand times. For hours Burley was under attack from hundreds of tweets from Codswallop’s crazy legion of followers. Just one problem: Burley has nothing to do with Question Time, which is produced by the independent production company Mentorn.
12 hours later, Carole deleted the tweet and apologised.
She also tweeted claiming that, during her Marr appearance with Oakeshott, they didn’t ask her about her Observer story about Shahmir Sanni. They did. That has now been deleted. This is basic stuff…
MediaGuido can reveal a major Lobby move: Sunday Express political editor Camilla Tominey is leaving the paper after 15 years to join The Telegraph as their new Associate Editor (Politics and Royals). She is believed to have been poached by Rob Winnett and will have a roving brief to land scoops, big interviews and campaigns, reporting alongside the Lobby and largely based in Westminster. Readers will remember her stealing the show on Question Time.
Camilla was the journalist who first broke the news of Harry and Meghan dating back in 2016, and she’ll be glad to only be doing two jobs rather than the four she had at the Sunday Express. She starts in September. Congratulations – this will set off a bit of a merry-go-round…
The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph look to be losing patience with Theresa May’s weakness on Brexit. In the last few weeks their leader columns and opinion pages have issued increasingly ominous warnings to the Prime Minister to change course. The Sun has repeatedly called on her to prepare for no deal and suggested she should be removed if she doesn’t get a grip. The usually ultra-loyal Mail has blasted her for allowing Brexit to drift. The Telegraph is talking about her leading Britain into a worst of all worlds Brexit. These are all from the last ten days…
The Sun, June 2:
“When will the Prime Minister and her Cabinet stand up for them — and for Brexit in full? Instead, the whiff of panic emanates from Downing Street. The Government has no idea what deal it wants. The latest plan for the Irish border has been trashed overnight. No10 regurgitates clichés to mask its confusion… Mrs May cannot kick the can any further down the road. She must be realistic, assertive and brave. There are talented Tories around her. If this PM can’t bring her party with her and lead us fully out of the EU, with no deal if necessary, she must make way for someone who can.”
The Sun, June 3:
“Even Leave voters fear the Government is botching Brexit… the chaos on the Continent from Spain to Italy is proof that we were absolutely correct to leave the EU… but if the Prime Minister looks like steering us to a bad Brexit, somebody else will need to take the wheel.”
The Sun, June 11:
“We must be in a strong enough position at the negotiating table that we’re willing to walk away. The Prime Minister has shown admirable backbone in the past, taking on the policing unions as Home Secretary and in her robust response to terrorism.”
Daily Mail, June 4:
“On Brexit, though it grieves the Mail to say it, Theresa May has allowed a profoundly worrying sense of drift to develop. Indeed, she has given the impression of a captain of a mutinous crew, sailing a rudderless ship across a turbulent sea, unsure herself where she wants to go… Mrs May has seemed willing to sit back while the bibulous Jean-Claude Juncker and his cronies sneer at our country and accuse her of ‘living in fantasy land’ if she believes we can leave the EU unpunished. The time has surely come for her to go on the attack, slapping down Remoaners, boosting the wilting morale of the pro-Brexit majority and telling Mr Juncker and Co that they are the fantasists if they think they can humiliate the UK with impunity. This is a great country, with great opportunities opening up to us. Mrs May needs to find the language to proclaim this from the rooftops.”
Daily Mail, June 7
“She needs to channel the same strength and resolve she showed in facing down Russia after the Salisbury poison attack and go on the offensive. She must set out her detailed blueprint for our post-Brexit future and start preparing seriously for the prospect of no deal… Mr Barnier is in a far weaker position than he pretends. Mrs May should get tough and call his bluff.”
Juliet Samuel in The Telegraph, June 11:
“Accepting ECJ rule and free movement will be electorally toxic, but agreeing to Irish Sea border checks will cost her much-needed DUP support in Parliament. Because this latter concern is a more immediate threat to her power, she will almost certainly choose to keep Britain inside the single market and customs union. This will be a dreadful result. We’ll give up our MEPs and officials in Brussels, but still be subject to its rules. Any other option, whether it’s staying in the EU, leaving with no deal, or surrendering Northern Ireland, would be a better outcome. Instead, inexorably, our Prime Minister is leading us towards the worst of all possible worlds.”
The message is clear to Number 10. Change course or lose the confidence of the right-leaning press…
Another Remainer panel…
Geordie Greig, a big Remainer who has turned the Mail on Sunday into a pretty hardcore anti-Brexit paper, is the new editor of the Daily Mail. Major implications for the Tories and the paper’s coverage of leaving the EU. Daily Mail readers might be a little confused at the change in direction. Today has not been a good day for Brexit…
UPDATE: Ted Verity to edit Mail on Sunday.
Fevered speculation overnight as to who will be the next Daily Mail editor following Paul Dacre’s resignation. There is talk a successor has already been found. As ever, Guido brings you your runners and riders…
- Tony Gallagher – Was Mail deputy before he became editor of the Sun in 2015. Might he be tempted to return?
- Geordie Greig – Or could the Mail on Sunday editor move over? Greig is a huge Remainer so it would be quite a change of direction.
- Gerard Greaves – Mail deputy editor, recently poached from the MoS. If a successor has already been found it will be someone like him.
- Ted Verity – The other Mail deputy editor. Serious candidate but is he ready for the leap?
- Ben Taylor – Currently the Mail’s executive news editor. Some smart money going on him in Northcliffe House.
- Martin Clarke – Editor of MailOnline. Long-time rival of Dacre. But the only Mail employee mentioned in his letter to staff last night…
- Chris Evans – Telegraph editor. He’s done really well there.
- George Osborne – A move to a Mail title seems like a sensible next step in the career of this up-and-coming journalist.
- Boris Johnson – Did not rule himself out last night. (Sure he was joking.)
- Michael Gove and Sarah Vine job share – Alas they have loftier ambitions.
Guido genuinely fears that without Dacre acting as sentinel Britain will be imperilled on so many fronts. Important for the future of the nation that the Mail makes the right choice…
Paul Dacre is out as Mail editor – Guido has his letter to staff:
And Rothermere’s letter:
End of an era. Runners and riders in the morning…
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) June 6, 2018
PMQs – snap verdict – https://t.co/FvUhFxtU0K – Corbyn win shows how Brexit turning toxic for May
— AndrewSparrow (@AndrewSparrow) June 6, 2018
Little doubt TM heading into very choppy waters over next ten days.
— Adam Boulton (@adamboultonSKY) June 6, 2018
Rarely seen the Tory benches as flat as they are today
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) June 6, 2018
Despite talk of heroism, May pointedly refuses to commit to statute of limitations for servicemen and women.
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) June 6, 2018
Welcome relief for May as she can give a clear answer to a question at #PMQs – yes she will sponsor a pigeon
— Andy Bell (@andybell5news) June 6, 2018
Labour MP Chris Bryant reckons Kay Burley could stand against Matt Hancock in West Suffolk if the future of Sky News is threatened under proposed merger plans. Kay would win…
Top investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr has told the European Parliament she is unaware of any allegations of the Remain campaign breaching spending rules during the referendum:
“I am unaware of any issues on the Remain side. There is none that I have come across. There is none that I understand the Electoral Commission has come across… if there are then I very much hope that journalists uncover this and it will be investigated.”
Carole must have missed the dossier of evidence about Remain cheating handed to the Electoral Commission this weekend. And the fact that the Electoral Commission has said they are looking into it. Guido is glad to hear Carole’s commitment to exposing Remain campaigners as well and looks forward to reading about it in next weekend’s Observer…
A revealing line in Lucy Fisher’s profile of Corbynista journalist Ash Sarkar: “Sometimes she’s fielded by the leader’s office, which co-ordinates these trusted commentators through a WhatsApp group”. Guido can reveal that the Leader’s Office actually uses several WhatsApp groups to coordinate messages and broadcast appearances with friendly journalists. At least one group includes among its members a LOTO staffer and several of the younger Corbyn media cheerleaders. Another group includes several older Guardian journalists who support Jeremy Corbyn – they use the group to get their lines to take before appearing on TV. Guido is told Seumas is not a member of any of these WhatsApp groups.
Worth remembering the next time you see Ash Sarkar or Zoe Williams on Sky News that they are often booked by the Labour Party and get their lines dictated to them by Team Corbyn, despite appearing on our screens supposedly as journalists. Shouldn’t Sky News call them ‘spokesmen’ given they never criticise the dear leader and get their messages straight from LOTO?
Journalists from Dispatches are ringing round former junior Vote Leave volunteers on a fishing expedition to find the next Chris Wylie or Shahmir Shah. Guido understands the programme is focusing on alleged co-ordination between Vote Leave and BeLeave. For some strange reason Channel 4 don’t seem interested in investigating the much greater evidence of co-ordination between the various Remain campaigns, which the Electoral Commission is also looking into. Is this an impartial use of taxpayers’ money?
Dispatches has at least two producers, Janet Eastham and Stefanie Stafford, calling the home phone numbers of ex-Vote Leave youngsters, which doesn’t seem very GDPR compliant. Guido hopes their ability to clock a Walter Mitty is better than the shambolic Carole Cadwalladr charade with the less than reliable Wylie and Shahmir. If Dispatches new commissioning editor, Louisa Compton, is interested in making a more balanced programme about the Remain campaign flouting the rules, Guido is happy to help them out…
After being criticised for its lack of female contributors, The New European anti-Brexit whinge fest has been taken over for one edition only by Caroline Criado Perez and rebranded The New Feminist. MediaGuido hears that, in order to end the gender pay gap at the paper, the one male writer who features in this week’s issue has received an 18.4% cut to his word rate. The one time in his career James Ball isn’t being paid more than all his colleagues…
The Evening Standard has issued a statement denying a report accusing it of “selling its editorial independence”. An article published on the Open Democracy website last night made the explosive claims that George Osborne’s paper
“has agreed a £3 million deal with six leading commercial companies, including Google and Uber, promising them ‘money-can’t-buy’ positive news and ‘favourable’ comment coverage… Unbranded news stories, expected to be written by staff reporters – but paid for by the new commercial “partners” as part of the 2020 deal – have already been planned for inclusion in the paper’s news pages within a week of the project’s launch.”
If true, the deal would, as the article alleges: “sweep away the conventional ethical divide between news and advertising inside the Standard”.
Guido has previously reported on how Osborne defended his employer BlackRock’s half-a-billion pound investment, Uber, on the front page of the Standard, one of many glaring conflicts of interest since he took over as editor. The Deliveroo love-in is certainly interesting, too. The Open Democracy article is based on the above slide which, embarrassingly for the Standard, does appear to promise “money-can’t-buy” coverage: “we expect every campaign to generate numerous news stories”. On the other hand, Open Democracy is notorious for publishing nonsense by cranks. The author of this piece, James Cusick, also writes for Peter Jukes’ conspiracy theory website Byline.
ESI Media say in a statement that the article is “grossly misleading”:
“Under no circumstances have these clients been guaranteed news coverage for their own ends, nor would they ever be. Properly signposted commercial content within an editorial product is an accepted part of the news industry and is nothing new for publishers.”
Standard hacks will be asking some searching questions in the newsroom this morning…
Yesterday news outlets around the world reported that Russian journalist Arkady Babchencko has been killed in Kiev, the British Foreign Secretary tweeted his condemnation, and his colleague paid tribute.
It turns out Babchenko is still alive and faked his own death in order to capture an attempted assassin.[…] Read the rest