How George Osborne's appointment as Standard editor strengthens right-wing grip on UK newspaper market

The appointment of George Osborne as editor of the Evening Standard further strengthens the right’s grip on the UK national newspaper market.

Looking at the 8.7m daily newspapers circulated across the UK and audited by ABC as ‘nationals’, some 5.5m of that total belongs to right-wing newspapers (based on their endorsements at the 2015 general election). A further 2.2m can be defined as neutral (Daily Star, i and Metro) and only 1m of that total belongs to titles representing a left of centre point of view (Daily Mirror, Guardian and Scotand’s Daily Record).

The Standard had been more right wing in outlook under previous owners Daily Mail and General Trust, but swung more towards the centre under the Lebedevs from 2009 onwards. This has also reflected the fact that with its current 900,000 daily free circulation it has to be a title for all Londoners (and the many who read it on their commute in from the Home Counties).

The appointment of a serving Conservative MP as editor suggests that it is likely to swing more to the right in the future (although it should be noted that it did support the Conservatives at the last election).

This is not good news for media plurality, or the idea that national newspapers should broadly reflect the diversity of political opinion in the UK public.

Osborne is at least unlikely to give an easy ride to the current Government under a Prime Minister who unceremoniously dumped him as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

UK national daily newspapers (as audited by ABC) and their political leanings:

Note: Not all the newspapers audited by ABC in its national press round-up are nationally available.

UK national newspapers and their political leanings:

(Circulation data from ABC for February 2017)

Right wing
The Sun 1,591,997
Daily Mail 1,454,129
London Evening Standard (free) 897,000
The Daily Telegraph 457,331
Daily Express 389,028
The Times 441,059
City AM 90,743
Financial Times 184,279
 Total: 5,505,566
Left wing
Daily Mirror 700,879
The Guardian 154,544
Daily Record 153,579
 Total: 1,009,002
Daily Star 440,048
i 265,815
Metro 1,476,115
 Total: 2,181,978


2 thoughts on “How George Osborne's appointment as Standard editor strengthens right-wing grip on UK newspaper market”

  1. The Independent and Guardian are not stalwarts of the Left. The Guardian backed the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 polls, ushering in the Coalition, whilst the Indie was undeclared. In 2015, the Independent urged voters to back the Coalition, and The Guardian swung back to Labour (urging LD voting in marginals).

  2. At least any (perceived/presumed) bias would be transparent, rather than insidious/subliminal. But editors do not necessarily impose personal ideologies onto their publications.

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