Kampfner quits as editor of 'Statesman' in cash row

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The Independent Online

The editor of the New Statesman, John Kampfner, walked out yesterday afternoon following a row over money with the left-wing magazine's owner, the MP Geoffrey Robinson.

Kampfner finished editing this week's issue before announcing his departure to staff and thanking them for their work. He spoke of his sadness that their "big ambitions" could not be fulfilled because of Mr Robinson's intention to squeeze budgets.

Before leaving the office, he released a statement insisting that the magazine would prosper "in the right circumstances".

Kampfner is said to have sought outside investment to boost editorial funds, having become frustrated with what he perceived as Mr Robinson's refusal to finance development.

The Statesman's owner, a Labour MP who used to host pizza and beer parties for Gordon Brown in his Park Lane penthouse, had bankrolled a 2006 relaunch that boosted stagnant sales by 5,000 to beyond the 30,000 mark. But Mr Robinson had recently "closed his wallet", according to staff.

"John won the awards but not enough readers for Geoffrey's liking," said a source. "Geoffrey wants a much lower-key operation that runs a tidy profit."

Regarding Kampfner's discussions with potential investors, the source added: "John did not go behind Geoffrey's back."

Kampfner had been editor for almost three years, having coveted the position when it was held by his predecessor, Peter Wilby.

The political editor, Martin Bright, said: "John was bold and ambitious and his legacy to the magazine is a renewed vigour in design and in breaking stories."

Sue Matthias, the deputy editor, formerly of The Independent on Sunday, has been appointed acting editor.