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Simon Heffer has written his last column for The Telegraph

By Tim Montgomerie

On a weekly basis Simon Heffer has thrown rocks at David Cameron from the comment pages of The Telegraph. No longer. The Heffersaurus is moving on.

I'm told by Telegraph insiders that it should be seen by outsiders as a sign that the newspaper wants to stop being the platform for his destructive punditry. I offer you this example and this and this. Heffer is undoubtedly a brilliant writer but there was something unreasonable about his incessant attacks on everything Cameron's Conservative Party did. He could see no good whatsoever in anything that the PM ever said.

The Telegraph hasn't reverted to being The Torygraph. Look at the newspaper's blogs where independent voices from Julian Astle to Janet Daley to Dan Hannan can be heard. Peter Oborne, the newspaper's Friday columnist regularly critiques the party. Andrew Haldenby of Reform features prominently on The Telegraph's editorial pages, urging a more radical approach to the public services. And, just yesterday, the newspaper led with the CSJ's critical report on Coalition family policy.

Downing Street will, of course, be delighted. The Conservative leader will see it as an anniversary present from the newspaper that still reaches deeply into the Tory grassroots.

I was forwarded this official Telegraph email to staff:

"Simon Heffer is leaving Telegraph Media Group in order to pursue a role in journalism and broadcasting that will allow him to complete a major literary project while developing his academic interests. Dr Heffer, Associate editor of The Daily Telegraph and one of the most distinguished voices in British journalism, has been writing for the Telegraph titles for 25 years. He spent last year as a Fellow Commoner of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, completing a book on the English language - Strictly English - and writing A Short History of Power, which is to be published this autumn. His history of Victorian Britain will be published by Random House in 2013.

Simon Heffer said: "I have had very happy times at the Telegraph and have been blessed by good colleagues and wonderful readers. They, the paper and my colleagues have my very best wishes for the future."

Tony Gallagher, Editor, The Daily Telegraph, said:  “Simon has been a terrific colleague, trenchant columnist and wise counsellor.  While I am sorry to see him depart, I fully understand his reasons and he leaves with everyone's best wishes.”"


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