Matthew D'Ancona named as new 'Spectator' editor

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Matthew D'Ancona was appointed editor of The Spectator yesterday and promised to adapt the right-wing weekly for a "new political landscape".

The former deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph indicated he would modernise the magazine to reflect David Cameron's new-look Conservative Party and the changing political climate as Tony Blair approaches the end of his time in office.

He replaces Boris Johnson, who resigned in December to take up the post of Conservative higher education spokesman.

Mr D'Ancona's appointment follows a two-month search by the magazine's chief executive, Andrew Neil. Other names in the frame included The Spectator's deputy editor, Stuart Reid, and the Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts, who is believed to have turned down the post fearing he would not have sufficient editorial independence. Mr Neil was rumoured to have favoured his protégé Iain Martin, the editor of Scotland on Sunday.

A director of the Centre for Policy Studies, a centre-right think-tank, Mr D'Ancona has been supportive of the Blair project in the past, although he has now thrown his weight behind Mr Cameron. After joining The Times as a trainee in 1991, he rose through the ranks to be appointed assistant editor at 26. Mr D'Ancona said: "I want The Spectator to adapt its fine traditions as a source of superb writing, news exclusives and wit to a new and exciting political landscape. It will be modern, free-thinking and indispensable."

Mr Neil said the new editor wasone of Britain's foremost political commentators. He added: "I am in no doubt he will now become one of Britain's foremost editors. He combines the requisite political gravitas and insight with the wit and originality the post requires.''

Mr Neil recently appointed Fraser Nelson, the former political editor of The Scotsman, and Allister Heath, the economics editor of The Business, as assistant editors of The Spectator, pre-empting the traditional right of the new editor to make his own appointments.

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