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July 24, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:07am

Telegraph boss praises Boris Johnson as title’s ‘first journalist since Winston Churchill’ to become PM

By Charlotte Tobitt

The chief executive of the Telegraph has congratulated Boris Johnson on becoming Prime Minister, noting he is the first journalist from the newspaper since Sir Winston Churchill to do so.

In an post on a staff messaging platform this afternoon Nick Hugh shared an image of Johnson with the memo: “The Telegraph’s own columnist becomes Prime Minister today”.

Above the image shared in the Telegraph Insider group on Facebook Workplace, seen by Press Gazette, Hugh wrote: “Many congratulations to Boris Johnson who has of course just been appointed Prime Minister.

“Boris is the first Telegraph journalist since Sir Winston Churchill to lead the country.

“Boris has written for the Telegraph for the best part of three decades and in that time he has built a legion of devoted readers.

“On behalf of everyone at the Telegraph we send him our warmest wishes.”

Johnson entered Number 10 this afternoon after visiting the Queen in Buckingham Palace.

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His Telegraph predecessor Churchill was a long-serving member of staff, beginning in 1897 when he sent back accounts from the British Empire about fighting in what is now Pakistan.

The newspaper later published his denunciations of Nazism up until the start of the Second World War.

Writing in the Telegraph in 2015, Johnson described Churchill as a “superb reporter”, adding: “It was Churchill the reporter who enabled Churchill the statesman to get it right about Hitler.

“The Daily Telegraph can claim a significant and honourable role in helping to launch that career, and in supporting him at an absolutely critical juncture.”

Johnson was sacked as a Times trainee in 1988 after falsifying quotes attributed to his godfather, the historian Colin Lucas.

He then joined the Telegraph where he was EU correspondent for five years before becoming assistant editor.

He left to become editor of the Spectator in 1999, spending six years at the helm, four while an MP, but remained a Telegraph columnist throughout this period, stopping only when he became Foreign Secretary in 2016.

He resumed his £275,000 column just a week after resigning from the Cabinet in July last year but did not tell the Government watchdog, in breach of ministerial code.

The Telegraph has not responded to requests from Press Gazette to confirm the fate of Johnson’s weekly column now he has taken office, but it is assumed his writings have come to a halt.

In its leader column today the Telegraph dubbed Johnson’s election “a new chapter after three wasted years” under Theresa May, adding: “It was encouraging to hear the upbeat tone in Mr Johnson’s words to the party yesterday but now is the time for hard work.

“There are just 99 days to Brexit. We wish him well.”

Picture: Reuters/Hannah McKay

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