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Evening Standard columnist Sam Leith axed in 'belt-tightening exercise' amid comment pages refresh

The Evening Standard has axed a long-running weekly columnist as part of a belt-tightening exercise and bid to refresh its comment pages.

Sam Leith, also the Spectator’s literary editor, began his column at the paper in 2009, which grew into a full-page slot each Monday.

His column this week was his last, it has been confirmed.

Leith told Press Gazette: “I heard from the managing editor that they were going through a belt-tightening exercise so I was getting the chop.

“Though obviously I wasn’t delighted, I’ve always taken the view that the flipside of the great privilege of a weekly column is that you’ve no security of tenure – so you kind of take your lumps when they’re dished up to you.

“I did enjoy the weekly outlet greatly, and getting paid didn’t hurt either — but I had a good run so they’re quite within their rights to bring it to an end.”

Leith’s column earned him nominations for Columnist of the Year at the Society of Editors Press Awards in 2015 and 2016.

Press Gazette understands the axing is part of a freshening up of the Standard’s columnists which will see regular contributors reshuffled across the week. Major changes to the comments page are not expected.

Picture: Sam Leith

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