The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

No, I didn't at all. As I said to you earlier, I regarded myself as the news gatherer in chief. The Times readership, I know a few years ago, split about 40/30/30 between the parties, so the readers of the Times expected the Times political editor to have to be impartial, fair, accurate and to tell the story as he saw it. Obviously I knew in some cases the leader line being taken by the paper, although I never did attend -- during all those years, I never attended the leader conferences that were held at the Times and every newspaper every morning to decide on an editorial line. But I would be aware.

Sometimes my stories would sit happily alongside the leader line, but very, very often they went completely against the leader line. That was not a factor in my consideration and I was never told how to write a story with any particular slant. I would often have a discussion with the news desk about whether I had chosen the top line of the story correctly, but that wouldn't be whether it was on a particular political line; that might be whether there was a line that I had buried somewhere in the story that they wanted to lift out.

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