'Telegraph' will not switch to Labour, Barclays say

Saeed Shah
Wednesday 21 January 2004 01:00 GMT

The Barclay brothers insisted yesterday that The Daily Telegraph would maintain its traditional support for the Conservative Party under their ownership.

Sir David Barclay put out a statement in response to a newspaper interview which appeared to suggest that the Telegraph may switch its allegiance to the Labour Party.

Sir David, who was understood to be upset by the piece, said no editorial changes were planned. "To avoid any confusion, we will not change the editorial position of The Daily Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph has a long-established editorial position which we respect and with which we do not intend to interfere," he said.

The millionaire businessmen continued to insist that their acquisition of a controlling interest in the Telegraph titles from Lord Black of Crossharbour could not be stopped.

Sources close to the brothers said they believed that The Daily Telegraph and its sister paper, The Sunday Telegraph, were well-run and successful.

An insider said: "The Telegraph is the biggest-selling broadsheet and it supports the Conservative Party. We'd be mad to tinker with it."

An article published in The Guardian had quoted Sir David as saying that the Telegraph under his ownership would "certainly not" continue to be the house organ of the Conservative Party.

Sir David and his twin brother Sir Frederick already own The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and The Business.

In the interview, Sir David pointed to The Scotsman's backing of Labour at the last election.

However, a source close to Sir David said this was used as an example of the brothers not interfering with the editorial stance of their newspapers and was not meant to be an indication of the future orientation of the Telegraph.

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