Andrew neil

Andrew Neil’s interview with Rishi Sunak – as it happened

Rishi Sunak was interviewed by Andrew Neil on Channel 4 tonight. He was quizzed on inflation, the NHS backlog and more. Liz Truss, the bookies’ favourite, declined to take part in an interview with Neil. 8.50 p.m. – Did Sunak’s gamble pay off? Kate Andrews writes… Rishi Sunak took a major risk tonight, agreeing to a one-on-one interview with Andrew Neil on Channel 4 news. As Katy Balls says on our reaction podcast, more often than not politicians come crawling out of Neil’s interviews. At best, they hope to survive them. All things considered Sunak did indeed survive tonight’s interview. But is survival enough? He agreed to the grilling in an effort to kickstart his

Will Liz Truss dare to face Andrew Neil?

It’s six weeks to go until voting closes for the Tory leadership and polls suggest that Liz Truss is the firm favourite of the party grassroots – on a two-to-one ratio. Rishi Sunak has to do all he can to make up lost ground, something that has likely motivated the former Chancellor to accept a challenge from one of Britain’s most formidable interviewers. For it has today been announced that Andrew Neil, the longtime bête noire of politicians across the land, will grill Sunak this Friday night on prime-time Channel 4. The move is of course a gamble by Sunak: Neil gave him one of his tougher interviews last year

From Neil to Nigel: the descent of GB News

I can’t claim to know any behind-the-scenes rivalries or boardroom brouhaha motivating Andrew Neil’s departure from GB News but I am glad to see him go. Neil is out at the still ill-defined channel which can’t decide whether it’s a populist classical-liberal network, standing up to authoritarian cancel culture, or a British version of Fox News. It excels at neither. Given wobbly ratings, staff departures and one instance of very off-brand knee-taking, it’s not entirely surprising that Neil has finally had his fill and walked away. He was not only chairman but the underwriter of the promise — issued in his opening monologue — that the channel would dissent from

GB News will succeed – even if it fails

Help! If I’m too kind to GB News, my bosses at LBC will be cross as the channel nicked their top producer, not to mention the entire format (talk radio, televised). And if I am too unkind, the chairman of this magazine and galactico of GB News Mr Andrew Neil won’t have me at Speccie parties ever again. I have now been watching for around a week in order to give the station time to settle, but I did tune in for the launch. I roped in Dorothy Byrne as an expert witness. Why? One, she was head of news and current affairs at Channel Four for decades and, two,

The questions hanging over GB News

GB News is the most interesting experiment in British television news since Sky in 1989. The brainchild of Andrew Neil (who is also chairman of The Spectator), the channel is pinning its hopes on there being an audience for something different. The thinking goes that the mainstream broadcasters reflect the progressive pieties of London rather than the values of the rest of the country. Critics have characterised the channel as ‘right-wing’, though Neil and his team have been careful not to embrace the label. Of course, GB News isn’t the first broadcaster to cover the news with a particular slant — Channel 4 News has been doing so for a

Tom Slater

GB News and the fight against the outrage mob

Cancel culture is a reflection of our society’s cowardice. The more institutions bow to the demands of an intolerant fringe, the more powerful these unrepresentative bores become. The GB News boycott is a perfect example of this. A handful of tweeters, ginned up by the censorious hate group Stop Funding Hate, tweeted their dismay at companies advertising on the new anti-woke channel, and these firms actually listened to them. Kopparberg, IKEA, Specsavers, Octopus Energy, Grolsch, Moneysupermarket, Vodafone, Bosch and more responded like a rabbit in the headlights and pulled their ads before bothering to think of the consequences. That several of them have since tried to walk it back, following

Rishi Sunak’s waffle exposed the flaw in Boris’s green agenda

Who pays? It is one of the most important questions in politics, especially when it comes to the sort of expensive zeitgeisty ideas that governments love to take a reputational ride on. When Margaret Thatcher was Tory leader, she tried to exempt her party from this charge of vulnerability to fashionable notions that come with eye-watering price tags attached, once observing:  ‘The Labour party scheme their schemes, the Liberal party dream their dreams, but we have work to do.’ Nobody who has followed the career of Boris Johnson at all closely would seek to exempt him. Indeed, ‘schemes and dreams’ appear to be what make him tick. So it is

Stephen Daisley

Why Rishi Sunak should keep the Universal Credit uplift

Chancellor Rishi Sunak agreed to sit down with Andrew Neil on GB News last night for what turned out to be a fairly brutal grilling. The Chancellor floundered under interrogation on the pensions triple-lock, the cost of climate-friendly policies and the Tories’ big-government instincts. However, one of the more uncomfortable moments came when Neil pressed him on the future of the £20 weekly Universal Credit uplift. The benefit supplement, which also applies to the basic element in Working Tax Credit, was introduced at the start of the pandemic because the government acknowledged that the coming recession would inflict particular hardship on those already on the lowest incomes. Announcing the 12-month

Impartiality and the battle for broadcast

Two big kites were launched by the Sunday Times that could, should they fly, redraw the broadcasting landscape. ‘BBC critics set for top jobs in broadcasting’ its front-page headline announced. The Prime Minister, it suggested, has offered Lord Charles Moore the chairmanship of the BBC and Paul Dacre, the chairmanship of the media regulator Ofcom. Both are former editors of newspapers of the right and neither has much love for what the BBC has become. For some, it is simply an obscene Tory stitch-up. The former Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, was perhaps the most succinct: ‘No process. No joke. This is what an oligarchy looks like.’ Well, ‘Up to a point,

Andrew Neil interview: Jo Swinson sticks to her guns

Jo Swinson had a terrible session on Question Time earlier in the election campaign, but tonight in her interview with Andrew Neil, she showed that it is possible for a leader who believes what they are saying to survive a very tough grilling with their dignity intact. She faced difficult questions on her party’s Brexit position, on her voting record in the Coalition government, and on what she would do if her party lost seats at this election, but managed to stick to her guns in a way that showed up Jeremy Corbyn for not doing so in his interview – and Boris Johnson for not having the guts to

Full transcript: Jeremy Corbyn grilled by Andrew Neil

Jeremy Corbyn took part in The Andrew Neil Interviews on BBC One this evening. Neil grilled the Labour leader on everything from anti-Semitism to Vladimir Putin. You can read the full transcript from the interview here: AN: Jeremy Corbyn, the Chief Rabbi says a new poison of anti-Semitism, anti-Jewism, has taken root in the Labour Party and it’s sanctioned by you, he says. He questions you’re fit for office. What’s your response? JC: I’m looking forward to having a discussion with him because I want to hear why he would say such a thing. So far as I’m concerned anti-Semitism is not acceptable in any form anywhere in our society

Watch: Andrew Neil challenges John McDonnell on Labour’s housebuilding record

Labour has pledged to build 100,000 council homes a year as part of their so-called ‘housing revolution’. But how likely are they to fulfil that pledge? Normally, a party’s past performance is a pretty good indicator. So veteran interviewer Andrew Neil thought he might question the shadow chancellor John McDonnell on Labour’s council house building record in Wales, where the party has been in control in some form or other since the Assembly’s formation in 1999. It turns out the Labour-led Welsh government built just 59 homes last year. But not to worry, Mr McDonnell assured us, ‘past records are irrelevant’.

Watch: Alastair Campbell grilled over Brexit march hypocrisy

This weekend thousands of anti-Brexit protesters are expected to take to the streets in the name of the People’s Vote march – the campaign calling for a second referendum. Of all the ‘People’s Vote’ cheerleaders, Alastair Campbell is one of the loudest and he appeared on This Week to plug the event. Only Andrew Neil had a question to ask which seemed to catch Tony Blair’s former spin doctor by surprise: ‘Over 1m people marched, urging the government – of which you were a central figure – not to invade Iraq. You ignored them. Why should this government take any notice of 100k Remainers calling for a second referendum?’ "Over

Bearers of bad news

When President Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter at the Chequers press conference last week, I imagine a lot of British viewers thought —as Theresa May clearly did — that he was being graceless, capricious and anti-freedom of speech. But I think we’re in danger of underestimating the extent to which the media landscape has changed in the past few years. Gone are the days — if they ever existed — when political interviewers were dispassionate seekers-after-truth on a mission to get the best out of their subjects. Now, it’s mostly activism-driven, the aim being to advance your preferred narrative while showing up your ideological opponents

Watch: Andrew Neil’s beginner’s guide to anti-Semitism

A Times/YouGov poll at the weekend found that nearly eight out of ten Labour members believe that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party in the last fortnight are being exaggerated to damage Jeremy Corbyn and prevent criticism of Israel. So, it seems an opportune time to share Andrew Neil’s helpful explainer on what anti-Semitism is and where it leads, from This Week: ‘An evil demon we thought had been slain – anti-Semitism – pollutes society on both sides of the channel once more. I was told today that polls and focus groups show that many Brits, not just the young, don’t know what anti-Semitism is. Well, gather round. Mireille

Andrew Neil interviews Tim Farron: full transcript

AN: Tim Farron, this election’s about electing MPs to sit in the British parliament, but you’re fighting on a manifesto which advocates UK laws being made in Brussels, having no control over immigration policy and for Britain to stay under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Why? TF: The Liberal Democrats are campaigning in this campaign to trust the people, and we know that people voted to leave the European Union last June. I grew up with, you know, people who voted to leave. I completely respect those who did. Obviously a whole different view. The issue now is how do we move forward? And we know that

Katy Balls

Tim Farron on the ropes in Andrew Neil interview – ‘you’re a populist who’s not popular’

Tonight it was Tim Farron’s turn to take centre stage in the last instalment of the Andrew Neil interviews. Unfortunately for the Liberal Democrats, his performance could also be described as the worst of all five interviews. The Lib Dem leader repeatedly clashed with the broadcaster as he ducked out of questions, filibustered and squirmed while attempting to explain his party’s position on the EU, security and cannabis legalisation. With the Liberal Democrats promising a ‘second referendum’ on the final Brexit deal (while insisting they ‘respect’ the EU referendum result), Neil asked Farron what Britain’s exit from the EU ought to look like. However, Farron struggled to explain how this should differ at

Andrew Neil interviews Jeremy Corbyn: Full transcript

AN: Mr Corbyn, today you drew a link between terror attacks at home and British actions abroad. Do you believe if Britain had not followed the foreign policy it has since Tony Blair was in office the attack on Manchester would not have happened? JC: The attack on Manchester was shocking, appalling, indefensible, wrong in every possible way. The parallel I was drawing this morning was that a number of people ever since the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have drawn attention to the links with foreign policy, including Boris Johnson in 2005, two former heads of MI5, and of course the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. And the point I


Watch: Andrew Neil’s This Week monologue – ‘the time for rhetoric is over’

In the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, the BBC’s This Week has kicked off with a speech from Andrew Neil on the tragedies — and the ‘jihadi johnnies’ responsible. Last night, in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack which left 22 people dead, Andrew Neil adopted a different tone — as he said ‘the time for rhetoric is over’: ‘I won’t repeat a version of the remarks I made on this programme in the wake of the Paris and Westminster attacks, though I know some of you were hoping that I would. They apply with equal force to what happened on Monday night – even

Holding court

A hundred years after the Russian revolution, Russia has a tsar and a court. Proximity to Putin is the key to wealth, office and survival. The outward signs of a court society have returned: double-headed eagles, the imperial coat of arms, the cult of Nicholas II (one of whose recently erected statues has ‘wept tears’), an increasingly wealthy and subservient Orthodox Church. In 2013, ‘to strengthen the historical continuity of the Russian armed forces’, the main honour guard regiment in Moscow was renamed Preobrazhensky, after the oldest regiment of the Imperial Guard, founded by Peter the Great in 1683. A statue of St Vladimir, founder and Christianiser of the Russian