Charles Moore (journalist)

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Charles Moore
Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, at Edmund Burke Philosopher, Politician, Prophet.jpg
Moore speaking at Policy Exchange in 2013
Born Charles Hilary Moore
(1956-10-31) 31 October 1956 (age 62)
Hastings, Sussex, United Kingdom
Education Eton College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Journalist, Editor
Spouse(s) Caroline Baxter
Children 2

Charles Hilary Moore (born 31 October 1956) is an English journalist and a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. He still writes for the first and last of these publications.

The first volume of his authorised biography[1] of Margaret Thatcher appeared in April 2013 shortly after she died.

Early life and career

Moore was born in Hastings. He is from a Liberal family. His mother was a county councillor for the Liberal Party in Sussex, and his father Richard was a leader writer on the News Chronicle,[2] who unsuccessfully stood for the party at several general elections. While at Eton in 1974, he wrote about his membership of the Liberals in the Eton Chronicle, and also about his taste for Real Ale.[3] During this period he was already a friend of Oliver Letwin. Moore remained a Liberal into his early twenties.[3]

Moore went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, at the same time as Letwin. He had also known Nicholas Coleridge at Eton, who was also at Trinity.[4] He read English (2.1) and History (2.1) and was awarded a BA in 1979.[5] By now an advocate of architectural conservation, he became an admirer of the work in this field of (then) poet laureate Sir John Betjeman.[6]

In 1979 he joined The Daily Telegraph as a political correspondent,[4] and, after a short period on the 'Peterborough' gossip column, was writing leaders within two years by the age of 24.[3] In 1982 Moore wrote a pamphlet for the Salisbury Group, entitled The Old People of Lambeth (1982).[7]


Two years after joining The Spectator as a political columnist, he became the magazine's editor in 1984, remaining there until 1990. Moore co-edited A Tory Seer: The Selected Journalism of T. E. Utley, which was published in 1989.

Following The Spectator, he edited The Sunday Telegraph from 1992 to 1995. Near the start of this period, around the time of the publication of the Andrew Morton book, Diana: Her True Story, he appeared on Newsnight to discuss the marital difficulties of the Prince and Princess of Wales. To the astonishment of the presenter, Jeremy Paxman, Moore said, that because he wished to protect the monarchy: "I believe in the importance of concealment in these matters and, if you like, hypocrisy."[3]

Moore became editor of The Daily Telegraph in 1995. In 2001, his signed editorial "A Free Country"[8] gained some notice elsewhere in the media.[9] In this article, he argued in favour of hunting, pornography, the right to employ whom we choose, the right to trial by jury and advocated the legalisation of cannabis.[8] He blamed a decline in 'freedom' on the controls imposed during the second world war, and on Margaret Thatcher: "If you've been in office for a long time you always start to believe in having more power, and she undoubtedly got that disease."[9]

Owing to falling circulation, there had been speculation by 2003[10] about Moore's future prior to his resignation in the autumn of that year.[11] Moore had been editor when stories about George Galloway,[10][12] which led to a successful libel action from the politician, had been published. The newspaper had falsely claimed that Galloway received payments from Saddam Hussein's regime.[13]

Later career

Moore is a vehement critic of the BBC, which he believes has a left-wing anti-Thatcherite bias.[11][14] Moore was fined £262 for not possessing a TV licence in May 2010,[15] eighteen months after announcing that he would donate the amount payable as a television licence to Help the Aged because the BBC had failed to sack Jonathan Ross for his "Sachsgate" prank with Russell Brand.[16] He saw the episode as part of an on-going "pathology" at the BBC, rather than being an isolated incident.[16]

Moore is a critic of David Cameron's Conservative Party modernisation strategy, that he states embraces "subjects which they had previously ceded to the Left, like health, welfare, the environment and schools", which he believes has supported the interests of government organisations rather than that of the consumer. In particular Moore is critical of the National Health Service, which he considers "a terrible organisation".[17][18]

In December 2009, regarding the Beano character Lord Snooty, also his Private Eye nickname,[9] Moore thought that "he is the ideal role model for David Cameron."[19] In 2011, after the News International phone hacking scandal became public knowledge, he wondered if the Left had been right all along, not only in their objection to Rupert Murdoch's power, but also whether "'the free market' is actually a set-up."[20]

Moore was for a number of years Chairman of the Policy Exchange, a London-based think-tank, before he stepped down in June 2011. In December of 2007, he waded into the debate over The Hijacking of British Islam, a Policy Exchange report which the BBC had found to be contentious because of receipts for extremist material which were claimed to be somehow falsified. In the fullness of time, a number of lawsuits against the Policy Exchange in connection with The Hijacking of British Islam were vacated, discontinued or otherwise abandoned; in at least one instance, the result vindicated the Policy Exchange when the court ordered significant damages against the plaintiff.

In the wake of the 2015 Sousse attacks, in which 38 Westerners were murdered by an Islamist who had apparently been seduced by an associate of Abu Qatada, Moore wrote an essay, the thesis of which was that ISIS and its fellow-travellers truly believe only it can defeat the conspiracy that runs the world and that there is no possible common ground. He concluded that "It is not paranoid to say that there is a deadly enemy within (the UK), and not intolerant to want to defeat it."[21]

As of 2015, Moore writes for two of the publications he once edited, The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph. In August 2015, Moore received media attention and criticism after he wrote an article for The Spectator regarding the Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 2015 titled "Have Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall got the looks for a leadership contest?", in which he wrote "there is an understanding that no leader - especially, despite the age of equality, a woman - can look grotesque on television and win a general election" and discussed the looks of the two female candidates in detail. The article was condemned by Liz Kendall; First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon; Candidate for Labour nomination for Mayor of London and former Minister and MP Tessa Jowell, along with several journalist and MP's from various parties[22][23]

Biographer of Margaret Thatcher

Following the death of Margaret Thatcher on 8 April 2013, during his appearance on the Question Time programme three days later, Moore criticised the BBC for giving too much publicity to the Thatcher critics who were celebrating her death. Menzies Campbell accused Moore of suffering from "a persecution complex".[24] On 17 April, the day of Thatcher's funeral, Moore stated that parts of the country showing enmity were considered "relatively less important".[25]

He had left his post as editor of The Daily Telegraph in 2003 to spend more time writing Thatcher's authorised biography.[1][11] Always intended to be published after her death, the first volume, entitled Not For Turning, was published shortly after the funeral of Mrs Thatcher.[14] Moore does not know the exact reason for his being chosen to write the biography but believes it was probably a result of his age, and of the fact that he was familiar with all of the dramatis personae of Thatcher's time in government, without being especially strongly linked to any one of them. He was selected by Mrs Thatcher, without his prior knowledge, out of a list of names which were presented to her.[26]

Personal life

He married Caroline Baxter (whom he had met at university) during 1981[10] in Tunbridge Wells. The couple have two children. Moore converted to Roman Catholicism following the Church of England's decision to allow the ordination of women priests.[27][28] His wife, a former English don at Cambridge University, chose not to make such a move and remains an Anglican.[29] Moore is the founder-chairman of the Rectory Society which is dedicated to preserving past and present parsonages.[6]


  • "The Spectator's Notes". The Spectator. 308 (9397): 11. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "The Spectator's Notes". The Spectator. 311 (9446): 11. 12 September 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "The Spectator's Notes". The Spectator. 312 (9464): 13. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. 1.0 1.1 Charles Moore "Radical, egotistical, romantic, innocent – the real Margaret Thatcher", The Daily Telegraph, 19 April 2013
  2. Roy Greenslade Press Gang: How Newsmakers Make Profits from ropaganda, London: Macmillan Pan, 2004, p.134
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Zoë Heller A Better Class of Person: Charles Moore, The Independent, 31 January 1993
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mark Brown "Lady Thatcher's authorised biography sparks excitement and scepticism", The Guardian, 19 April 2013
  5. The historical register of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1984. ISBN 0521241278.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Keith Miller "Charles Moore: profile", The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 Charles Moore "A free country", The Daily Telegraph, 16 July 2001
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Euan Ferguson "Charles Moore, the reluctant revolutionary", The Observer, 8 July 2001
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "The man gunning for Galloway". BBC News. 23 April 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Janine Gibson "Toodle-pip", The Guardian, 2 October 2003
  12. Ciar Byrne "Galloway threatens to sue Telegraph", media guardian, 22 April 2003
  13. "Galloway wins Saddam libel case", BBC News, 2 December 2004
  14. 14.0 14.1 Adam Sherwin "Charles Moore lands first blow in battle to define Margaret Thatcher's legacy and destroy 'myths of the Left'", The Independent, 12 April 2013
  15. James Robinson "Charles Moore fined for Jonathan Ross-inspired TV licence boycott", The Guardian, 11 May 2010
  16. 16.0 16.1 Charles Moore "The BBC was too scared to sack Jonathan Ross, so the obscenity goes on", The Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2008
  17. Charles Moore (29 August 2014). "Douglas Carswell can see where politics is going . he's a true moderniser". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Charles Moore (2 March 2012). "Let's just admit it - the NHS is a rotten way of doing things". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Charles Moore "Why Lord Snotty is the Ideal Role Model for David Cameron", The Daily Telegraph, 4 December 2009
  20. Charles Moore "I'm starting to think that the Left might actually be right", The Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2011
  21. "Islamists only want one thing. We cannot appease them", 3 Jul 2015
  24. "Moore: 'In this song Mrs Thatcher is Dorothy'", BBC News, 12 April 2013
  25. Charles Moore on ‘Relatively Less Important’ Areas of the UK
  26. Charles Moore, an interview with Luke O Sullivan in Quadrapheme Magazine
  27. Chad Hatfield "Anglican Options: Rome or Orthodoxy?", Anglican Orthodox Pilgrim, 3:1, nd
  28. Peter Stanford "After 500 years, has the Pope outfoxed the Archbishop?", The Independent on Sunday, 25 October 2009
  29. Luke Coppen "‘The Church always needs new blood’", Catholic Herald, 18 July 2011

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Alexander Chancellor
Editor of The Spectator
Succeeded by
Dominic Lawson
Preceded by
Gordon Brook-Shepherd
Deputy Editor of The Daily Telegraph
Succeeded by
Trevor Grove and Veronica Wadley
Preceded by
Trevor Grove
Editor of The Sunday Telegraph
Succeeded by
Dominic Lawson
Preceded by
Sir Max Hastings
Editor of The Daily Telegraph
Succeeded by
Martin Newland