Barclay Twins Unleash Corporate Rottweiler on Editor

17 November 2004

The Barclay twins' corporate Rottweiler, former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, has been unleashed on the high profile editor of their low profit political weekly, The Spectator.

The elderly journal (born 1828) claims to be the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language and is currently edited by the engaging quasi-buffoon and TV personality Boris Johnson, arguably the Conservative Party's highest - and certainly its most popular - profile.

Boris, however, has himself been hitting the headlines rather too much for the tastes both of the Tory Party, which recently fired him as front bench spokesman on the arts, and his secretive proprietors who acquired the magazine as part of the package deal struck with Hollinger International when they bought the Telegraph Group.

Boris' sins (both of the flesh and undiplomatic candour) have been too well publicized in the world's tabloids to rehash here. And thus it came to pass that the Barclays decided it is time for him to be reined-in - or possibly provoked into resignation.

To that end, they have transferred The Spectator from its Telegraph parent and into their smaller Press Holdings Group, where Neil - himself something of a TV pundit and minor league celebrity - holds sway as chief executive.

Word is that Boris, whose exterior clowning cloaks a razor-sharp mind, confessed himself "a little apprehensive, naturally" at the development. But the company partyline is that he will retain complete editorial freedom despite the regime change.

Those who have worked with Neil also believe that the Pope is Jewish.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff