Editor leaves in a whirlwind: Steve Boggan looks at the illustrious Fleet Street career of Sir David English

INTERNAL politics at the Daily Mail's Kensington headquarters are Machiavellian at the quietest of times. Yesterday, they managed to amaze even the most hardened hacks on Fleet Street's toughest paper.

Without warning, Sir David English, editor of the Daily Mail, called his heads of department into their daily conference half an hour early and told them: 'This will be the last conference under my editorship.'

Earlier, Stewart Steven, editor of the Mail on Sunday, was planning to board an aircraft with half a dozen of his senior colleagues en route to Dundee, where Iain Walker, an executive editor of the MoS who died in a climbing accident, was to be cremated.

'He was pulled from the flight and told he couldn't go,' said one senior staffer. 'Later, he was told the news and he passed it on. We are all still shocked by the suddenness of it all.'

The shock yesterday appeared to be on two levels: the extent of the changes across all the publications and the fact that, after 21 years at the helm, Sir David would no longer be there.

Rumours have persisted over the past 12 months that he was planning to stand down but, in the words of Max Hastings, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, most people expected him to be 'editing the Mail when the rest of us were pushing up the daisies.'

Educated at Bournemouth School, Sir David joined the Daily Mirror in 1951 as a reporter before being lured by Lord Rothermere to the Daily Sketch as features editor and, later, assistant editor.

In 1969, after a spell as foreign editor, the Daily Sketch made him the youngest editor in Fleet Street at the age of 38. He became editor of the Mail in 1971 and oversaw its successful transition from a broadsheet. In 1982 he was knighted for services to journalism, an honour criticised by Labour MPs because of his relentless support for the Tory party.

Fellow editors regard him in the highest esteem. Richard Stott of the Daily Mirror described him as 'A great professional and a great editor.' Lord Rothermere once referred to him as 'God'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine