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Fraser Nelson is the new Editor of The Spectator

NelsonSpectator The news is just breaking that Fraser Nelson is to take over from Matthew d'Ancona as the magazine's Editor.

It is not clear what d'Ancona will be doing next but he already has a must-read column in The Sunday Telegraph and also writes for GQ.  He had the unenviable task of following Boris Johnson when appointed in 2006 and during his time in the Editor's chair the hugely successful Coffee House blog was launched.  In my view it is the best blog in British politics and has nurtured the outstanding talents of James Forsyth and Peter Hoskin.

With a few exceptions - notably grammarsgate - Matthew d'Ancona has pursued a friendly relationship with the Conservative Party.  My guess is that will change somewhat under Fraser Nelson, who until today has been The Spectator's Political Editor.  The magazine will remain a strong supporter of David Cameron but it will start to press the Tory leadership more aggressively on issues of debt reduction, NHS reform and will expect to see real progress on the social justice agenda.  Some of Fraser Nelson's best journalism has been seen in his analysis of Labour's dismal record on poverty and on Brown's hidden spending cuts (Fraser was there FIRST with the 10% cuts story - rivalling Guido Fawkes for the anti-Brown story of the year).  Up until now The Spectator as a magazine - rather than Coffee House - hasn't quite caught the zeitgeist.  It hasn't quite captured the great anticipation that most Conservatives feel at the prospect of the first new Tory government since 1979.

SpectatorFraser's promotion will mean a search will begin to find a new Political Editor for the magazine.  James Forsyth, currently Deputy Editor, is a hot tip but The Times' Sam Coates must also be a possibility.

I'd like to see Bruce Anderson return to the magazine in some form.  He remains hugely insightful and would be a lot more at home at The Spectator than The Independent.

I count Fraser as a close friend and have watched in admiration as he moved up from The Scotsman to The Spectator and was then recruited by one Andy Coulson to be the News of the World's main current affairs columnist (replacing William Hague).  He was ConHome's Writer of the Year in 2008.  Congratulations Fraser.

Tim Montgomerie


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