Andrew Neil lays into GB News again, describing it as a ‘UKIP tribute band’

Andrew Neil lays into GB News again, describing it as a ‘UKIP tribute band’

Two months after leaving it, Andrew Neil is still wringing his hands about his time at GB News.

Speaking to Sky News, the veteran broadcaster said his time there was a “mistake” that caused “pain and aggravation” and that the channel – founded to cater to a range of views – is basically a “UKIP tribute band”.

He said: “The big mistake I made, and it was a huge mistake, and it did cause pain and aggravation, was that I put my name and face on the tin and yet quickly discovered that I really had no say in what was going into that tin.

“My fundamental mistake was to get into bed with people who I thought shared my vision, but didn’t actually.

“What made it very stressful and very difficult was that in the public domain, understandably and quite rightly, it was Andrew Neil’s GB News, it was Andrew Neil’s channel, that was the brand of it.

“And yet it was doing things ... that were not me.

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“It became apparent to me as the months of this year went on that a combination of the board and the founding members, that this was basically a Ukip tribute band, and that’s what they really wanted.”

It comes after Neil parted ways with the channel in September as presenter and chairman, just three months after it launched in June 2021. In a statement at the time, Neil said: “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.”

Now, Neil added that the channel’s notorious tech problems will make it “slide into irrelevance and obscurity” and that the launch was so bad that the channel is “haunted”.

“Most launches don’t go very well, but there are some launches which go well enough to allow recovery,” he said.

“There are other launches that go so badly they haunt you for months and months afterwards.

“I think GB News is still haunted by the shambles of the launch, and that will take a long while to overcome.”

It is not the first time Neil has expressed regret over his time at the news channel. In an interview with the Mail in September, he said the technical issues the channel faced caused constant “stress” and that being involved with it was worse than dealing with terrorists.

“I’ve been on the IRA hit list twice,” he said. “I’ve had special protection – anti-terrorist forces outside my house. I’ve been on the jihadists’ hit list. This feels worse.”

Speaking of experiencing technical problems while broadcasting for the channel to Sky he added: “It’s not just embarrassing, it’s heart-stopping when you’re ... about to go live and you’re told in your ear every single link has gone down.”

Nevertheless he wants to return to broadcast in the future, if only to ensure GB News is not “the full stop in my broadcasting career”.

He added: “You think you know everything because you’ve done everything and you don’t, and you can still make what was, on my part, probably the single biggest mistake of my career, to get into that position.”

Somehow we can’t imagine Neil will be the channel’s first choice as a PR manager.

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