Andrew Neil – The Matrix Database

Andrew Neil looking decidedly chummy with the politicians he apparently holds to account

The Matrix Project is an effort to document personal factors that undermine powerful journalists’ claims of objectivity and impartiality. Are factors such as an elite education, establishment connections, personal wealth and interests in rival fields compatible with journalistic integrity?

This page looks at BBC journalist Andrew Neil. For more information on the database click here.

Education

Learn about the significance of a private/Oxbridge education here

Andrew Neil attended a state grammar school and non-Oxbridge university

Revolving Door

Learn about the significance of the Revolving Door here

According to New Statesman, Neil’s “private company boasts net assets of £8.8m and cash-in-hand of more than £900,000” – rival field of Business

Neil worked as a Conservative Party researcher in the early 1970s (source) – rival field of Politics

“Establishment” Connections

Learn about the significance of Establishment Connections here

Primary

Andrew Neil is married to Susan Nilsson, Group Director of Communications for Waterman Group PLC (which had a 2019 turnover of £102,000,000) source

Secondary

Gerry Malone, Conservative MP from 1983-1987 and 1992-1997, was a university friend and flatmate of Andrew Neil (source), possibly from Neil’s time chairing the Conservative Club

The Independent reported in 1998 that Neil faced a staff rebellion if he didn’t sack Malone from The European magazine for assaulting one of its journalists.

According to the paper, “Mr Malone…issued a formal apology to the title’s features editor, Nicola Davidson, after making a drunken sexual approach to her and then hitting her around the head when he was rebuffed.”

They also note that Neil “caused much resentment when, as editor of the Sunday Times, he appointed Mr Malone as Scottish editor after he lost his first parliamentary seat in 1987.”

And:

The two also have a business together.”

Salary/Indications of Wealth

Learn about the significance of journalists with an unusual level of wealth here

Andrew Neil earned £170,000-£174,999 in his last full year at the BBC, 2019-20 (source)

In addition to ownership of a company with assets of £8.8 million, New Statesmen report that Neil “has a flat in Chelsea, west London, a New York apartment, and a seven-bedroom house in the south of France, complete with gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi and satellite TV in every room.”

It is now common knowledge that Neil’s GB News contract was worth £4 million (source)

As a point of reference, the Office for National Statistics list the average UK salary for 2021 as £26,193

Complaints / apologies

Learn about the significance of complaints/apologies here

Complaint Upheld – In 2017 the BBC upheld a complaint about an edition of Sunday Politics, presented by Andrew Neil, in which Neil referred to false Conservative Party claims that could not be “referenced” in fact or “justified” (source)

Deletion of Tweet About the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr:

Neil had tweeted:

Summary

Andrew Neil is married to a high-ranking businesswoman, is a millionaire many times over and provided not one but two jobs in journalism to an ex-Conservative MP he was friends with at university. Neil has clear business and political interests.

Impartial? Independent? Holding the powerful to account?

Learn more about the Matrix Project here.

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