Graham Norton: I quit 'toxic' Telegraph because it is 'mouthpiece for Boris Johnson'

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  • Graham Norton
    Graham Norton
    Irish comedian and television presenter
  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 04: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Graham Norton visits SiriusXM Studios on September 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
Graham Norton was the Telegraph's agony aunt for 12 years (Credit: Getty Images)

Graham Norton has said he quit writing for the Telegraph newspaper because he objected to the newspaper acting as a “mouthpiece for Boris Johnson” and its “toxic” political standpoint.

The 56-year-old chat show host penned an agony aunt column published in the Daily Telegraph’s Weekend supplement for 12 years before stepping down at the end of 2018.

Norton has now been quoted in The Guardian newspaper as saying: “When I signed up to be their agony aunt, I was aware that it was a rightwing paper and that didn’t bother me, but about a year before I left, it took a turn and there were some things in that paper about which I thought, ‘I cannot be contained within the same pages as this.’

“There was a piece defending Brett Kavanaugh and things president Trump had said about [Kavanaugh’s] accuser, and I just thought, ‘This is toxic.’ And I loved that job; I absolutely adored doing it, but ultimately I didn’t love it enough to be part of that stable.”

Read more: Graham Norton claims Phillip Schofield and other ITV stars paid more than BBC stars

Norton added: “Another awful thing is the fact they were such a mouthpiece for Boris Johnson with no fact-checking at all... And when I found out how much they paid him – to do a weekly column he’s paid like a quarter-million a year, so I just thought, no.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Graham Norton attends the National Book Awards at RIBA on November 20, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Graham Norton attends the National Book Awards at RIBA on November 20, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

The comedian admitted he didn’t feel compelled to speak publicly about his own political opinions but that didn’t mean he didn’t have any. He added you wouldn’t have to be a “rocket scientist” to work out who he voted for.

Norton admitted he had been “saddened” to give up the column, but being associated with the newspaper was making him feel “nauseous”.

Read more: Is Graham Norton the real top earner at BBC?

The Irish presenter is said to have made the comments during promotional work for the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show. He said he had not given his reasons for resigning to the newspaper at the time, but now wanted to make clear why he had made the decision to step down.

The Daily Telegraph Masthead. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Daily Telegraph Masthead. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)

A spokesperson for the Telegraph said: “Graham’s weekly column was widely enjoyed by our readers, and we wish him all the very best with his future plans.”

The Telegraph’s weekly advice column is now written by Richard Madeley.

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