The Left

Martin Bright Clarifies the Circumstances of His Departure From the Staggers

So, now we know:

As the issue of my departure from the NS has now been picked up by Guido and Harry’s Place I should probably clarify my position on this matter.
Former owner Geoffrey Robinson saw fit to write a letter to the Times denying that the Prime Minister had a role in my departure from the magazine. He also pointed out that the matter was covered by a mutual confidentiality agreement (thus breaching the agreement in quite spectacular fashion).

The following can be said about this without fear of further breaches:
1. The account of events at the UK Press Gazette Awards of 2008 as related in Private Eye and posted by Nick Cohen over the weekend are accurate. No apology has ever been made by Charlie Whelan for his disgraceful behaviour that evening. However, I have no evidence that he ever voiced his opinion to Geoffrey Robinson or Gordon Brown that I should be removed from my job.
2. Geoffrey Robinson made it clear that he disapproved of a programme I made for Channel 4 Dispatches on Ken Livingstone and an article I wrote for the Evening Standard urging people not to vote for Livingstone as mayor.
3. John Kampfner was removed as editor of the magazine shortly after the programme was aired.
4. Geoffrey Robinson’s preferred candidate for the job was Patrick Hennessy, the political editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a Brownite loyalist. I was urged to apply for the job to stop this happening but continued to support the acting editor, Sue Matthias.
5. Maintaining my position and independence as political editor became increasingly difficult from the moment I exposed the inner workings of Livingstone’s city hall.
6. I was deeply unhappy with the decision by the magazine to settle a libel action with the Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi.

This may not be of interest to many people but I happen to think the freedom of the press is a precious thing.

As I have said previously, it was time to move on from the NS.