Letter: An editor without 'fear or favour'

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your diarist (1 July) implies that because I broadcast on LBC and because Shirley Porter is now chairman of LBC, the Sunday Times will permit nothing 'too derogatory' to be published about her. It is an insulting implication with no basis in fact.

I have been editor of the Sunday Times for 10 years and throughout that decade I have always been willing, indeed keen, to publish critical news stories, without fear or favour, as those diverse as Arthur Scargill and Tory party fund-raisers can readily testify.

But putting principle aside, your diarist makes an absurd suggestion even on the practicalities. What LBC pays me for my modest efforts is pocket money; the idea that I would compromise journalistic principle for that - even my ability to meet the monthly mortgage payment is not dependent on it - is absurd.

You also insult Lesley White, who wrote our recent profile of Lady Porter. It was her decision alone to interview Lady Porter - I did not even know she had done it; Lesley wrote it without any input from me and I did not change a single word. The views expressed were hers, and hers alone.

I thank you, however, for reminding readers of our rigorous campaign in 1989 to get Shirley Porter to clean up Westminster. The discomfort it caused her, and the subsequent improvements, are a matter of pride for the Sunday Times.

I can assure your diarist that we eagerly await the district auditor's report on Lady Porter's time in charge of Westminster Council, the contents of which will be fully covered in the Sunday Times. Indeed, any leaked copy would be gratefully received, and the more critical it is the greater coverage it will get.

Yours sincerely,

ANDREW NEIL

Editor

The Sunday Times

London, E1

1 July

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