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Paul Dacre described both as ‘true icon’ and ‘malign force’ in mixed response to his departure from Daily Mail

By Sam Forsdick

Following the announcement yesterday evening that Paul Dacre would be stepping down as editor of the Daily Mail after 26 years in charge, journalists took to Twitter to share their hot takes.

Some praised Dacre as a “bloody genius”, while others described him as a “malign force”on British culture and celebrated his departure.

Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere said Dacre was the “greatest Fleet Street editor of his generation” in a message to staff. Some of the online comments echoed this sentiment.

Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, tweeted: “Thing is people, when he got it right, Paul Dacre was a bloody genius. And he got it right more often than most of you would like.”

Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire said: “Dacre was the Godfather of Fleet Street, an immensely powerful editor of the Daily Mail. Catastrophic Brexit was his last hurrah.”

LBC radio host Nick Ferrari described Dacre as a “true icon” and tweeted: “Wonder how long those trashing Paul Dacre would last running the Orpington Examiner let alone the Daily Mail?”

Former Daily Mirror editor and Good Morning Britain host, Piers Morgan shared his view on Twitter, saying: “Few more polarising newspaper editors than Paul Dacre, retiring from the Daily Mail after 25 years. Few better ones either.

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“Understands his readers – and enemies – brilliantly. Whether you love or hate it (I love it) the Mail is a superbly produced, ferocious cage-rattler.”

But Labour Peer Andrew Adonis was less supportive. He told BBC Newsnight: “To me it seems like a moment of national liberation. This influence has been so negative on our public life for 25 years.”

Former Labour Party spin doctor Alastair Campbell, writing in GQ, was harsher still.

He said Dacre was a “truth-twisting, hypocritical, malign force on our culture and politics” and that “he and his paper are the worst of British values posing as the best”.

Conservative MP Nicholas Soames tweeted: “It’s impossible to overestimate Dacre’s poison at The Mail no man can be called a ‘great’ editor who permits the headline that the Judges are the ‘Enemies of the People’ #successfulbadhat.”

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson took to Twitter to call for the Daily Mail to use the opportunity to appoint the paper’s first female editor.

Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman tweeted: “Worried that Paul Dacre is ‘doing a Ukrainian journalist’.” In reference to the Russian journalist whose death was staged last month.

Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville

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