Andrew Neil quizzed on GB News departure by Fiona Bruce
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Andrew Neil announced his departure from GB News when he resigned as lead presenter and chairman after just two weeks of studio airtime. During Neil’s leave of absence from the news programme, he and the channel insisted he was “taking a long break to recharge [his] batteries”. However, sources have now claimed Neil was actually locked in a legal battle with the channel’s bosses.
The 72-year-old broadcaster took a break from GB News a matter of weeks after it launched in June.
The right-wing channel and the veteran journalist insisted he was purely taking some time away from work in order to return feeling refreshed.
However, sources have told the Guardian, Neil was embroiled in a fierce legal battle with the channel’s bosses from mid-July, with the station in turmoil as Neil attempted to renegotiate then exit a four-year contract believed to be worth £700,000 a year.
According to reports, chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos was overheard at the station’s head office during the summer “pledging to sue” Neil for “millions of pounds over an alleged breach of contract”.
However, Neil is said to have claimed his reputation had been harmed due to being involved in a botched launch over which he had limited control.
It is understood the former Sunday Times editor ultimately agreed to walk away without any money in order to wash his hands of the channel.
Appearing on BBC One’s Question Time on Thursday night, Neil explained: “In the run-up to the launch, through the launch, and in the aftermath of the launch, and I think most of you who have read anything about it will know you couldn’t file the launch under a startling success.
“More and more differences emerged between myself and the other senior managers and the board of GB News
“Rather than these differences narrowing, they got wider and wider and I felt it was best that if that’s the route they wanted to take then that’s up to them, it’s their money.”
He added: “People should make up their own minds as to whether that’s what they want to watch, I thought it wasn’t for me and I had wanted a different route.”
GB News staff are allegedly blaming the legal war between Neil and Frangopoulos for distracting from efforts to save the station over the summer, the Guardian’s sources stated.
While Neil agreed to remain as a pundit twice a week as part of his exit package, it is a temporary measure designed to limit the PR damage caused by his resignation.
It is alleged Neil hired an employment lawyer in July, less than a month after he launched GB News.
The newspaper said Frangopoulos has become the boss at GB News following the departure of programming chief John McAndrew, pushing the channel to the right with Nigel Farage as the flagship presenter.
One person with knowledge of the channel’s workings told the publication: “The rightwing Fox News channel [approach] isn’t working and won’t work, [some] presenters are stupid and badly informed, and it wasn’t the right strategy for the channel.”
The channel is continuing to push its online offering, but morale among staff remains low with Frangopolous said to be increasingly bothered by leaks to the press, it is understood.
Express.co.uk has contacted GB News for comment.
Source: Read Full Article