Andrew Neil has revealed why he stepped down as chairman of GB News, hinting that he was unhappy with the way the channel covered news and describing how he was a “minority of one” when it came to its future direction.
When host Fiona Bruce asked whether that was the reason he quit GB News, Neil made a not-so-subtle dig at his former channel, adding: “I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why I’m here and not with GB News.”
But not everyone was convinced Neil’s explanation on why he quit the channel with fellow Question Time panellist, former banker and writer Nels Abbey, challenging him on these points.
Abbey began by revealing two copies of a pre-launch exclusive on GB News in The Sunday Express’, with the headline: “Why Britain’s new TV news channel won’t be woke”.
Came for the posting on #bbcqt, and boy, I did not leave disappointed: https://t.co/ecavgQaVq5
“I posit it to you, Andrew, that you actually knew exactly what you guys were setting up," said Abbey. “When you used the word ‘woke’ as a pejorative, I put it to you that... you exactly knew the dog you were blowing that whistle at.”
But Neil questioned in response: “So, why am I not still there? If you’re saying that what’s happened is what I wanted, why would I be here tonight and not still there?”
He added: “You don’t know me. You are assuming things of which you have no knowledge whatsoever.”
Abbey hit back, describing how GB News was a very “shoddy” channel and that, when it came out, “it was embarrassing to watch.”
Neil, who is also chairman of The Spectator, hit back: “For somebody who has never met me you seem to know a hell of a lot about me. When you do your homework maybe you’ll come back and apologise and we can have a sensible conversation.”
Question Time viewers took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the exchange, with many doubting Neil’s reason for leaving, suggesting he always knew what the channel would become.
Andrew Neil sets up anti- woke far right news channel. It’s dire, he’s embarrassed & resigns. Straight on to #bbcqt