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January 9, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 8:47am

John Humphrys joins Daily Mail as weekly columnist after leaving BBC

By Charlotte Tobitt

Ex-BBC journalist John Humphrys is joining the Daily Mail as a regular weekly columnist, replacing Peter Oborne who stood down in October.

Humphrys left Radio 4’s Today programme in September after 32 years and has already returned to the airwaves presenting Classic FM’s Sunday afternoon show.

His first public swipe at the BBC, just two days after his departure, was covered in the pages of the Daily Mail which carried extracts from his memoir A Day Like This that accused the corporation of having an “institutional liberal bias”.

The 76-year-old said he was “delighted” to be joining the Mail, saying he had spent “more years than I care to remember” writing “on and off” for the paper. He starts his new column on Saturday.

“The Mail is a paper that knows what it believes in, and proudly says so, but it does not demand that its columnists toe an approved line,” Humphrys said. “That’s the big test of a paper’s integrity.

“My view has always been that I am not writing for a mighty media organisation, I am writing for its newspaper’s readers. If they agree with me: that’s wonderful. If they don’t, that’s fine too.

“I look forward to discovering which it will be every week – and I hope Mail readers will, too.”

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Daily Mail editor Geordie Greig added: “John Humphrys is one of the legends of British journalism.

“He has gained a reputation as a fearless interviewer with forthright views and he will bring his unrivalled insight to the Daily Mail.

“He is not just a ferocious interrogator, but a gifted, entertaining and thought-provoking writer who will make for compulsive reading.”

Humphrys wrote a column for the Sunday Times for five years until 2004 when the BBC banned its journalists from writing articles on current affairs for external newspapers and magazines.

Oborne left the Mail in October after claiming lobby journalists – including those at the paper– were being used by Number 10 to spread “fake news” and “lies and smears”.

The Daily Mail’s Saturday edition is the best-selling paper in the UK, according to ABC, with an average circulation of 1.7m.

Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

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