Andrew Neil has resigned as chairman of GB News and is also stepping down as a presenter.
The ex-BBC political presenter, 72, will continue to appear twice a week as a commentator but has decided to cut down on his professional commitments.
He quit in June to go on what he said at the time was an extended holiday and promised to be back ‘before the summer is out’.
But, announcing on Monday that he will not now return to his original role, Neil said: ‘I am sorry to go but I have concluded it’s time to reduce my commitments on a number of fronts.
‘Over the summer I’ve had time to reflect on my extensive portfolio of interests and decided it was time to cut back.’
Less than two hours after announcing his resignation, Neil appeared on former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s 7pm show on the channel, where he discussed the influence of China on British universities.
Farage said Neil was returning in a ‘change of role’ as a ‘contributor and commentator’ and added that he would feature at the same time next week.
There had been speculation for several weeks that Neil may quit the Right-leaning channel entirely after reports that he had fallen out with its CEO Angelos Frangopoulos over their alleged differing visions for the new venture’s direction.
Andrew Neil has resigned as chairman of GB News and is also stepping down as a presenter. The ex-BBC political presenter, 72, will continue to appear twice a week as a commentator but has decided to cut down on his professional commitments
The broadcaster took to Twitter to say: ‘It’s official: I have resigned as Chairman and Lead Presenter of GB News’
Speaking in a statement released by GB News, Neil said: ‘I am sorry to go but I have concluded it’s time to reduce my commitments on a number of fronts. Over the summer I’ve had time to reflect on my extensive portfolio of interests and decided it was time to cut back’
Neil added in his statement: ‘I wish GB News well in continuing to fulfil its founding promise and mission to reach audiences currently underserved by existing news broadcasters.’
The broadcaster also took to Twitter to say: ‘It’s official: I have resigned as Chairman and Lead Presenter of GB News.’
A statement from GB News said: ‘Andrew is without doubt one of the finest journalists and interviewers in this country.
‘GB News thanks him for his 12 months of leadership, wisdom and advice, and we wish him well.’
Introducing Neil on his show tonight, Mr Farage said he had ‘enormous respect’ for the broadcaster.
He then added: ‘It is a change of role here at GB News and I’ve no doubt you could read plenty about that.
Less than two hours after announcing his resignation, Neil appeared on former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s 7pm show on the channel, where he discussed the influence of China on British universities
Presenters Andrew Neil and Neil Oliver broadcast from a studio during the launch event for GB News
‘But Andrew Neil is here as a GB News contributor and commentator and I am pleased to say he is going to regularly appear here on my show.’
Shortly after the news of his departure broke, other GB News presenters posted praise-filled tributes to their former colleague.
Former Sky News presenter Colin Brazier, who had been hosting Neil’s show in his absence, confirmed that he would be taking over the role permanently.
He said: ‘Andrew has been an inspiration to all of us at GB News. We look forward to seeing him again on the channel as a contributor.
‘And, yes, having minded the shop for a few weeks, it’ll be nice to have my name above the door.’
Former ITV News anchor Alastair Stewart, who hosts his own weekend show on GB News, said: ‘I am so very sorry that @afneil is stepping back from his original roles but I am delighted he’ll still be doing stuff for @GBNews.
‘I will miss not having him around as much – as a friend, mentor and master broadcaster.’
Former Sky News presenter Colin Brazier, who had been hosting Neil’s show in his absence, confirmed that he would be taking over the role permanently
Former ITV News anchor Alastair Stewart, who hosts his own weekend show on GB News, said: ‘I am so very sorry that @afneil is stepping back from his original roles but I am delighted he’ll still be doing stuff for @GBNews’
Political reporter Tom Harwood said: ‘Andrew Neil is a titan of broadcasting, real news journalism, integrity and the reason I joined GBN. Was an honour to broadcast alongside him in our first weeks on air’
Political reporter Tom Harwood said: ‘Andrew Neil is a titan of broadcasting, real news journalism, integrity and the reason I joined GBN. Was an honour to broadcast alongside him in our first weeks on air.’
Fellow reporter Cameron Walker added that Neil is a ‘role model to young journalists, like myself’ and said he was ‘sad to see him go, but wish him all the best’.
Talk Radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer also paid tribute to Neil. She said: ‘I don’t care where I get to watch or listen to @afneil , I just think British broadcasting is poorer when it doesn’t include the voice of Andrew Neil.’
Sources last week suggested the Scottish broadcaster was unlikely to return to the channel following reports of a rift with its chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos along with senior management.
While Neil had been one of the star signings for the Right-leaning channel when it launched back in June, he only presented eight episodes of his show before leaving.
He said at the time of his initial departure that he was simply ‘taking a break’ to ‘replenish my batteries after the rigours of the launch’.
A GB News worker said Mr Neil joined GB News ’12 months ago and signed a multi-year contract so we hoped he’s stay longer’.
A letter from channel bosses seen by Guido Fawkes said: ‘Andrew shared our vision for GB News.
‘He knew instinctively that many Brits, especially beyond London, were crying out for a trusted, accurate news channel that stands for tolerance, diversity, free speech, and fair debate.
‘That mission, enshrined in our Editorial Charter, has not changed and never will.’
GB News said last month it was ‘looking forward’ to Neil’s return and, before today’s news, a date of September 6 had been touted as the day he would make his comeback.
But when approached for comment last week after it was reported that he was unlikely to return, a spokesman for the channel did not repeat their previous statement.
In July, Neil waded into a row caused by the suspension of presenter Guto Harri after he took the knee live on air during a discussion about racism directed at England’s black footballers.
Mr Harri then left the show entirely and his departure was followed by the resignation of senior executive John McAndrew.
In a rallying cry posted on Twitter, Neil then said: ‘Start ups are fraught and fractious GB News is no exception.
‘But the news channel is finding its feet and has a great future. Watch this space.’
Sources last week suggested the Scottish broadcaster was unlikely to return to the channel at all following reports of a rift with its chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos along with senior management
Whilst Brazier largely filled Neil’s role in his absence, Stewart was on air in the slot last week.
GB News’s launch was plagued by technical problems such as poorly lit sets and crackling microphones, issues which Neil is understood to have regarded as shambolic.
Companies also began to pull their advertising from the channel as a result of pressure from hard-left campaign group Stop Funding Hate.
However, after Neil called them out on air and accused firms’ ‘useful idiot’ bosses of ‘taking the knee to far-Left cranks’ wielding ‘woke nonsense’ to try to try to sink the channel, many of them then rowed back on their decisions.
Moneysupermarket, Ikea, Vodafone and Bosch were among the firms to initially announce that they would not be advertising with the channel.
Moneysupermarket then tweeted: ‘Just to confirm that Moneysupermarket is not boycotting its advertising on GB News, sorry for any confusion caused.’
Ikea and telecoms giant Vodafone also both then made it clear that they may restart adverts after a review.
Neil first announced the impending arrival of GB News last year, revealing that he would present a show four nights a week whilst also being chairman of the channel.
He said in his first show in June: ‘We are committed to covering the people’s agenda, not the media’s agenda.
‘GB News will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media.
‘We are proud to be British, the clue is in the name, and while we will never hold back from covering our country’s many flaws and problems… we won’t forget what the B stands for in our title.
‘We will puncture the pomposity of our elites… and expose their growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is.’
However, the programme’s technical issues – which included the failure of contributors’ microphones – were a sign of the teething problems that were to come for the channel.
Pictured: Andrew Neil preparing to broadcast a show for GB News on June 13 earlier this year
Neil said shortly before his first show aired that it preparations for the channel’s launch were ‘quite fraught’.
‘We are using lots of the latest new technology, which will be great. But, as you know, new technology doesn’t always work first time round and all the journalists and technicians have got to get used to it.
‘So it is a challenge, but I launched Sky News way back in 1989 so we are used to it. The one thing that has been great is the line-up of presenters. They are Britain, they are modern Britain.’
Other presenters on the channel include author Neil Oliver – known for programmes including Coast and A History Of Ancient Britain – and comedian Andrew Doyle.
News of Neil’s departure comes after GB News announced earlier this month that political journalist Isabel Oakeshott would host her own weekly political show on the channel as part of a relaunch.
Ms Oakeshott, who co-wrote an unauthorised biography of ex-Prime Minister David Cameron with former Tory party chairman Lord Ashcroft, said she was ‘really excited’ to be joining the venture.
The new show will feature alongside others fronted by political reporter Harwood, along with presenter Gloria De Piero and political editor Darren McCaffrey.
The GB News studios are located in Paddington, west London.
Source: Daily Mail UK