Is Telegraph editor now safe enough to put up some pictures?

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The Independent Online

Journalists at The Daily Telegraph are hoping that their editor, Martin Newland, might get round to hanging some pictures in his office when he returns from his short summer break.

Journalists at The Daily Telegraph are hoping that their editor, Martin Newland, might get round to hanging some pictures in his office when he returns from his short summer break.

Mr Newland had been in post for only a month when Lord Black, the proprietor who appointed him, was ousted. He carried on editing under a cloud of speculation that he was soon to be replaced by someone better known. The bare white walls and empty bookshelves in his 12th-floor office were the most visible symptom of the precariousness of his position.

Those walls used to be adorned by framed photographs of Margaret Thatcher and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers killed in the line of duty, and old Boris Johnson election leaflets - all the personal property of the previous editor, Charles Moore.

Names frequently mentioned as editors in waiting included Dominic Lawson, editor of The Sunday Telegraph, and Andrew Neil, who runs the other newspapers owned by the Barclays brothers, including The Scotsman and The Sunday Times.

Neil met the Barclays to discuss The Daily Telegraph before they went on holiday. The prospect that he might be choosing the decor in the editor's office prompted a resignation threat by one well-known Telegraph columnist, who claimed that others would follow.

Craig Brown, the satirist who writes the Telegraph's Way of the World column, warned in a letter to The Guardian: "Neil's outlook is essentially angry, finger-wagging and neophiliac, while the Telegraph's is cheerful, tolerant and traditional. Putting Neil in charge of the Telegraph would be like putting a bull in charge of a china shop."

Neil dismissed the attack, saying: "I didn't know he was still at the Telegraph. I replaced him as food critic when I was editor of The Sunday Times with AA Gill."

By the time the billionaire Barclay twins officially became the newspaper group's new owners at 9am last Friday, the cloud hanging over Newland's future had lifted. He had been reassured by a personal telephone call from Aidan Barclay, who is expected to run the Telegraph titles on behalf of his father, Sir David Barclay, and his uncle, Sir Frederick.

One senior Telegraph journalist said: "They know that Martin's strength has been to hold everything together. That's no mean feat during a period when it could have gone off the rails and done silly things.

"There has been less on fox-hunting and less on saving the RUC, and it has been less of a house journal for the Conservative Party, while still sharing many of the values of the Conservative Party. The fascinating thing will be to see whether Martin thinks he is secure enough to put pictures up in his office."

The Barclays are likely to have been impressed by the most recent set of circulation figures, which show that The Daily Telegraph sold 912,000 copies, compared with June's average sales of 906,000.

Sales of the Telegraph's main rival, The Times, dropped from 661,000 to 646,000. This suggests that the Telegraph may now be reopening the gap The Times started to close with the launch of its compact edition.

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