Veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil has quit his role as GB News chairman and will no longer host his prime time show but will appear as a guest commentator
The former BBC presenter will continue as a regular guest commentator on the channel, GB News said.
The 72-year-old 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.”
Neil went on a “summer break” in June after presenting only eight episodes of his primetime politics show. He was reportedly expected back on screens at the beginning of September.
As his absence went on, rumours grew he planned to exit the show.
“It’s official,” he tweeted on Monday evening. “I have resigned as Chairman and Lead Presenter of GB News.”
It’s official: I have resigned as Chairman and Lead Presenter of GB News.— Andrew Neil (@afneil) September 13, 2021
“Our Chairman and Presenter Andrew Neil has stepped down from his roles at GB News and will instead appear as a regular guest commentator on our shows,” tweeted a statement from the GB News Twitter account.
“‘I am sorry to go but I have concluded it’s time to reduce my commitments,’ the account tweeted, ostensibly sharing Neil’s resignation statement. “‘I wish GB News well in continuing to fulfil its founding promise and mission to reach audiences currently underserved by existing news broadcasters.”
Neil’s walkout is the latest episode in what The Times has described as a split in the ranks between traditional journalists and those who wish for GB News to become a British version of Fox News.
The broadcaster’s exit comes at a turbulent time for GB News, with three senior producers at GB News reportedly quitting within days of each other, according to The Times.
The publication believes that the station’s “increasingly populist agenda is polarising the newsroom”.
Director of news and programmes John McAndrew left in July. He was followed by Neil’s producer Jamie McConkey, senior producer Sarah Weaver and senior daytime producer and Joceline Sharman last week, reported The Times.
Adding to the network’s woes, ratings have also plummeted since it debuted in June.