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Andrew Neil: 'Direction of GB News wasn't for me'

Andrew Neil: 'Direction of GB News wasn't for me'
© BBC
Andrew Neil tells the BBC's Question Time why he quit his role as chairman and presenter on GB News after just a few months.

Andrew Neil has opened up on his exit from GB News earlier this week, revealing that the channel was heading on "a different route" from his initial vision.

The new station launched in mid-June with an ambition to offer an alternative to the incumbent rolling news channels with an emphasis on discussion-based programmes and issues affecting viewers outside of London.

Neil was appointed chairman of the venture and host of its flagship weekday show, but after just two weeks he went on a summer break and failed to return.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Neil had resigned from his role at GB News, amid a rift with channel executives over a perceived move towards so-called "culture war" discussion topics and stories.

"I had always made it clear that it wouldn't be a British Fox News," he explained during an appearance on the BBC's Question Time on Thursday night.

"I think you can do something different without going anywhere near Fox. Fox deals in untruths, it deals in conspiracy theories and it deals in fake news - that's not my kind of journalism and I would never have set out to do that.

"I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to why I'm here tonight and not on GB News."

Pressed further by host Fiona Bruce on why he quit, he replied: "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 know that you couldn't file the launch under 'startling success'... more and more differences emerged between myself and other senior managers and the board of GB News.

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

"The route is what you can see on GB News at the moment. People should make up their own minds if that's what they want to watch. I thought it wasn't for me. I wanted a different route. It doesn't mean that I'm right and they're wrong, but there's a difference.

"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 a minority of one. But it's doing what it's doing, and good luck to them if that's what they want to do."

Despite Neil's comments, he is continuing in the role of regular guest commentator on GB News, with weekly slots on Nigel Farage and Alex Phillips's shows.

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