ENTERTAINMENT
13/09/2021 17:49 BST | Updated 13/09/2021 18:24 BST

Andrew Neil Quits His GB News Show And Steps Down As Chairman

Veteran broadcaster says he has made the decision after reflecting on "my extensive portfolio of interests".

GB News
Andrew Neil speaking live on GB News

Andrew Neil has stepped down as chairman of GB News and will no longer present a show on the troubled station, the channel has announced. 

In a statement GB News said Neil would continue as a “regular guest commentator”.

It follows weeks of speculation about the veteran broadcaster’s future at the start-up.

The journalist and broadcaster, 72, has been absent since announcing a break two weeks into its launch.

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

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.”

At its inception, Neil said the channel would not be “another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media”.

However, GB News has faced accusations it has become a Fox News-style partisan channel with a focus on issues that fire up the culture wars.

There have been multiple reports about the channel being plagued by technical problems and errors, poor ratings and disquiet among senior journalists attracted to the station.

Only today, commentator Tom Harwood launched his new show, The Briefing, with a caption spelling his name as Tom Hardwood.

Neil, formerly one of the BBC’s veteran political interviewers, was hired to lead the channel’s evening line-up with a primetime news and interview programme.

He announced a break two weeks into the launch but later said on Twitter that the channel was “finding its feet” and had a “great future” ahead of it.

Former Sky journalist Colin Brazier stepped in to fill his slot.

The move came as presenter Guto Harri quit the channel following a row over him taking the knee during a debate on the racism directed towards England football players.

The channel’s director of news and programmes, John McAndrew, was also said to have stepped down.

GB News launched after securing a number of high-profile signings from across the media landscape, including ITV News journalist Alastair Stewart, BBC journalist Simon McCoy and and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero.