Tony Gallagher confirmed as new editor of the Times

There is speculation over whether ‘workaholic’ and close ally of Rupert Murdoch will shift political tone further to right

Tony Gallagher has been confirmed as the new editor of the Times, with journalists at the paper speculating on whether he will shift its political tone further to the right.

Gallagher, who was deputy editor at the paper, takes over from John Witherow, who has stepped down after nine years at the helm.

Journalists at the Times describe Gallagher as a workaholic obsessed with politics and football, whose interests are aligned with its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch. He led the Sun during the 2016 EU referendum when it enthusiastically backed Brexit and urged voters to “BeLeave in Britain”, in contrast to the Times, which supported remain.

The Times’ readership is split politically, with journalists at the outlet speculating on how Gallagher will shape the paper’s editorial line as the prospect of a Labour government becomes more likely.

Gallagher has previously been spotted out jogging with Boris Johnson and was in charge of the paper earlier this summer when it removed an embarrassing story about the then prime minister and his wife.

He has been in temporary charge of the paper for most of the year, while Witherow was on sick leave. Gallagher’s appointment as full-time editor had been predicted for some time but was only formally confirmed on Wednesday, after News UK allowed the departing editor to have the headlines to himself for a day after being appointed chairman of Times Newspapers.

A search is under way to find a deputy to work under Gallagher and take over some of his old duties, with discussions taking place with potential candidates. One name linked to the job is Keith Poole, a former Sun executive who is editor of Murdoch’s New York Post.

One challenge for Gallagher, a former Daily Telegraph editor and editor-in-chief of the Sun, is being seen as from a print newspaper tradition, at a time when the Times’ growth area is its £26 a month online subscriptions. There is also the need to collaborate with the Sunday Times, which shares a website and some staff but retains a distinct identity under its editor, Emma Tucker. The Times has also expanded into audio, with continued heavy investment in Times Radio.

Murdoch, the executive chairman of the Times’s parent company, News Corp, said: “Tony is an exceptional editor with an expert and experienced eye on creating the best news package. His deft approach will be an asset to the Times in the years ahead.”

Gallagher said: “I am delighted and enormously proud to take on the editorship of the Times, the first paper I subscribed to as a teenage schoolboy.”


Jim Waterson Media editor

The GuardianTramp

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