Paul Dacre warns against softening Daily Mail's Brexit stance

Paper’s outgoing editor says it will be ‘commercial suicide’ if successor dilutes Brexit support

Paul Dacre has warned Geordie Greig, his successor as the Daily Mail’s editor, that any move to weaken the newspaper’s support for Brexit would be “editorial and commercial suicide”.

Greig, who edits the Mail on Sunday, was a strong supporter of the remain cause before and after the EU referendum, prompting speculation that he could alter the Daily Mail’s editorial line on the subject.

Dacre, who will hand over control of the paper in November after 26 years, used a column in the Spectator this week to say he had received “countless messages from readers worried about whether the Mail will continue its support for EU withdrawal”.

“Support for Brexit is in the DNA of both the Daily Mail and, more pertinently, its readers,” said Dacre in an unsubtle warning to Greig.

The pair have a notoriously frosty relationship and have repeatedly clashed over editorial lines while competing against each other for stories.

Part of Greig’s job will involve “detoxifying” the brand after Dacre’s departure, according to company insiders. The former editor will move upstairs to become editor-in-chief and chairman of the newspapers’ parent group.

Dacre criticised the journalist Rachel Johnson, who was hired by Greig to write a column for the Mail on Sunday, after she expressed hope that the Daily Mail would become “less inflammatory and more inclusive”.

Dacre said Johnson’s writing “gives banality a bad name” and defended his decision to run “shock headlines that secured justice” for Omagh bomb victims, the Guantánamo Bay detainee Shaker Aamer and Afghan interpreters who worked for the British army.

In his first public comments since his departure was announced Dacre also attacked the Guardian as a “knee-jerk leftist” newspaper and criticised the columnist Polly Toynbee for her views on his editorship, saying her “obsession with the Mail is almost psychotic”.

Dacre said he had received letters of congratulations from New Labour figures including Gordon Brown and David Blunkett, and said he could claim partial credit for Brexit due to his newspaper campaigning for “a mature debate on mass immigration which has nothing to do with race and everything to do with numbers”.

He said: “If the Mail promoted that debate and helped prevent the rise here of the kind of ugly rightwing political movements now festering across the EU, then I suffer my critics’ obloquy with pride.”

Contributor

Jim Waterson Media editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Daily Mail backs Brexit in EU referendum
Front page announcement follows the Mail on Sunday’s call for a vote to remain in first split since 1983

Jane Martinson

21, Jun, 2016 @9:49 PM

Article image
Paul Dacre publicly hits out at Daily Mail successor Geordie Greig
The former editor wrote a letter disputing Greig’s claim about new advert sales

Jim Waterson Media editor

11, Oct, 2019 @9:24 PM

Article image
The Daily Mail's Paul Dacre: hard on going soft?
Editor warns of ‘editorial suicide’ if his successor Geordie Greig changes paper’s Brexit stance

Jane Martinson

17, Jun, 2018 @3:00 PM

Article image
Departing Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre lashes out for final time
Former editor defends paper’s ‘enemies of the people’ headline in speech at Society of Editors conference

Jim Waterson Media editor

04, Nov, 2018 @9:04 PM

Article image
With Paul Dacre gone, will the Daily Mail change its tune on Brexit? | Hugo Dixon
The arch-Brexiter’s retirement could spell the end of the paper’s anti-Europe bile – if new editor Geordie Greig holds to his principles, says Hugo Dixon, co-founder of Common Ground

Hugo Dixon

08, Jun, 2018 @1:43 PM

Article image
David Cameron asked Daily Mail owner to sack Paul Dacre over Brexit
Former prime minister pressed Lord Rothermere to ‘rein in’ editor before EU referendum

Peter Walker and Roy Greenslade

01, Feb, 2017 @12:04 PM

Article image
Paul Dacre to front TV series on Daily Mail and modern Britain
Channel 4 signs up former editor for documentary on media influence in UK politics

Jim Waterson Media editor

18, Aug, 2019 @11:01 AM

Article image
New Daily Mail editor to be Geordie Greig
Pro-remain editor of Mail on Sunday to replace Paul Dacre at top of Brexit-supporting paper

Jim Waterson Media editor

07, Jun, 2018 @7:31 PM

Article image
'A friend to Middle Britain': Geordie Greig begins reign as Daily Mail editor
Taking over from Paul Dacre after 26 years, former Mail on Sunday editor promises ‘forward-looking’ approach

Jim Waterson Media editor

06, Sep, 2018 @2:20 PM

Article image
Paul Dacre to step down as Daily Mail editor in November
One of the most influential reigns in British journalism to come to an end after 26 years

Jim Waterson Media editor

06, Jun, 2018 @7:02 PM