Former GB News Chairman Andrew Neil Brands Ill-Fated Station A 'UKIP Tribute Band'

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Andrew Neil in the GB News studio (Photo: GB News)
Andrew Neil in the GB News studio (Photo: GB News)

Former GB News chairman and presenter Andrew Neil has branded the struggling broadcaster a “UKIP tribute band” as he once again hit out at his former workplace.

After leaving the BBC last year, Neil took on the role of chairman at GB News, a position he held throughout the station’s disastrous launch week.

He eventually announced he was taking an extended break from the broadcaster after less than two weeks on the air and never returned, revealing he’d stepped down for good in September.

Since then, Neil has made a string of scathing comments about his time at GB News, including during a recent appearance at Freeview’s Outside the Box event.

“The big mistake I made – and it was a huge mistake, and it did cause pain and aggravation – was that I put my name and face on the tin and yet quickly discovered that I really had no say in what was going into that tin,” he explained.

Andrew Neil in his GB News publicity photo (Photo: Alex Chailan/GB News via PA Media)
Andrew Neil in his GB News publicity photo (Photo: Alex Chailan/GB News via PA Media)

Neil continued: “​​My fundamental mistake was to get into bed with people who I thought shared my vision, but didn’t actually.

“What made it very stressful and very difficult was that in the public domain, understandably and quite rightly, it was Andrew Neil’s GB News, it was Andrew Neil’s channel, that was the brand of it. And yet it was doing things … that were not me.

“It became apparent to me as the months of this year went on that a combination of the board and the founding members, that this was basically a UKIP tribute band, and that’s what they really wanted.”

He added that while he’s in “no rush” to return to broadcasting, he hopes GB News will not be considered the “full stop” in his career.

During its first night of broadcasting, Neil told GB News viewers the station would cover “the stories that matter to you and those that have been neglected”, including “a huge range of voices that reflect the views and values of our United Kingdom”.

“It is our explicit aim to empower those who feel their stories, their opinions, their concerns have been ignored or diminished,” he said. “We are proud to be British. The clue is in the name.”

What followed was a chaotic launch week marred by technical difficulties, Ofcom complaints and presenters repeatedly being pranked live on air.

Since Neil took a break from the channel, GB News has welcomed former UKIP leader Nigel Farage as a presenter, with unconfirmed reports claiming Eamonn Holmes is set to begin presenting his own show on the station in 2022.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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