Charles Moore

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Thatcher's official biographer Charles Moore on the BBC's Daily Politics

Charles Hilary Moore (born 31 October 1956) is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and The Spectator. He is Chairman of the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange.


Charles Moore was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with an MA in History. He met Oliver Letwin at Eton and according to Peter Oborne

They became firm friends and later attended Trinity College, Cambridge where they shared the set of rooms - G3 in New Court -that were occupied by Arthur Hallam in the 19th century and remembered by Tennyson in his great poem 'In Memoriam'. Charles Moore came from a well-known Liberal family. Moore's mother at one stage - perhaps still does - blamed Letwin for turning her son into a Tory. [1]

He began his career in journalism in 1979 on the Daily Telegraph and between 1984 and 1989 was appointed Editor of the Spectator magazine.

In 1992 he became Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph and between 1992 and 1995 was also Editor of the Sunday Telegraph. Between 1995 and 2003 Charles Moore was Editor of the Daily Telegraph. From 2003 he has been Group Consulting Editor and a columnist with the Daily Telegraph, as well as a columnist for the Spectator.

At the present time Charles Moore is working on the authorised biography of Baroness Thatcher.

Charles Moore is married to Caroline Baxter and they have a twin son and daughter. [2]

George Galloway libel action

In April 2003, the Daily Telegraph published a series of allegations about MP George Galloway's links to Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq. The story was based on documents, purportedly uncovered in Baghdad by Telegraph reporter David Blair, which Galloway dismissed as forgeries.

"Tuesday's paper alleged official documents found by its reporter in Baghdad suggested that in 1999 Mr Galloway had asked an unnamed Iraqi intelligence officer for more money.

"Wednesday's Telegraph claims to have found a memo purporting to have been written on behalf of Saddam Hussein, in which the Iraqi leader rejects Mr Galloway's alleged request.

"The MP's solicitors have described the Telegraph's allegation that he received £375,000 a year from the United Nations oil for food programme used to feed Iraq as "totally untrue".

"A statement from Davenport Lyons solicitors said the Glasgow Kelvin MP had never received any money from Saddam Hussein's regime." [3]

In December 2004, Galloway won £150,000 in damages from the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Justice Eady said: "It was the defendants' primary case that their coverage was no more than 'neutral reportage' of documents discovered by a reporter in the badly-damaged foreign ministry in Baghdad, but the nature, content and tone of their coverage cannot be so described." [4]

Policy Exchange

In his capacity as chair of Policy Exchange, Moore heavily criticised the BBC after Newsnight broadcast a report in December 2007 questioning the evidence behind the think tank's report, The Hijacking of British Islam.

"Thinking that such a report was a serious public issue that could advance well under the "flagship's" full mast and sail, Policy Exchange had originally offered it to Newsnight exclusively.

"Newsnight's people were enthusiastic, but on the late afternoon of the intended broadcast, they suddenly changed their tune.

"Policy Exchange had offered them many of the receipts it had collected from mosques as evidence of purchase; now they said that they had shown the receipts to mosques and that there were doubts about the authenticity of one or two of them.

"Given that the report was being published that night, the obvious thing for Newsnight to do was to broadcast Policy Exchange's findings at once, allowing the mosques to have their say about the receipts. [5]

No such thing as Islamophobia

Charles Moore 'believes that Islamophobia is a construction invented in order to attract money from government' writes Peter Oborne.

In a Spectator article, Moore wrote that: 'Muslim bodies attracting government grants obviously have an interest in there being as many incidents as possible, so that 'perception' tends to extend well beyond reality. If we must have these phobias, why not Sikhophobia and indeed, Christianophobia? Collection of these numbers would lead to the arrest of a lot of Muslims, so I suppose it is ruled out as being Islamaphobic.' '[6]

BBC Licence Fee Protest

After controversial comments made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on their BBC Radio 2 programme in October 2008, Moore protested by refusing to pay the TV Licence fee. In May 2010 Moore was fined £262 at Hastings magistrates' court. He expressed concern in the Daily Telegraph that the licence fee was having an adverse affect on the poor in Britain who could not afford the licence but for whom 'telly is one of their few pleasures'. [7]


Moore's wife Caroline Moore (aka Caroline Baxter) was the first female Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. In the preface to the 1990 edition of his book Mill and Liberalism Maurice Cowling writes that this is ‘of no significance’ since she ‘is a literary critic or historian rather than a politician’. He adds that ‘The Spectator maintains under Mr Moore… a far blander position than a ‘New Right’ label might suggest.’ [8]

Views on race, religion and multi-culturalism

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Moore blamed the Brixton riots not on poverty and racism but on 'poorly planned mass immigration'. [9] Following the broadcasting of a BBC Radio 4 'Reunion' programme on the riots, he criticised the choice of guests writing:

Who was missing? There were no women witnesses. A woman might have given an interesting account of the lawless neighbourhood where sexist young West Indian men, often dealing drugs, ruled the streets through intimidation. There were no shopkeepers – the people with whom Mrs Thatcher, too much mockery, sympathised. One of them could have explained how they were looted, burnt out, and in some cases, assaulted. There were no policemen defending the force's actions (though [Brian] Paddick inserted the odd, bleating qualification to the general tide of denunciation). And there were no ordinary white (or indeed, black) residents of Brixton present to describe the fear, crime and disorder that had come to the once-peaceful community because of poorly planned mass immigration. [10]



  1. Peter Oborne, 'Letwin intellectual', The Spectator, 24 November 2001; p.18
  2. Graduation: Honorary Graduates 2007, The University of Buckingham: AlumNet.
  3. Galloway faces new Iraq claims, BBC News, 23 April 2003.
  4. Galloway wins Saddam libel case, BBC News, 2 December 2004.
  5. Newsnight told a small story over a big one, Daily Telegraph, 15 December 2007.
  6. Peter Oborne, After Finsbury: Time for the UK's right-wing press to address its Islamophobia, Middle East Eye, 14 July 2017, accessed 24 January 2018
  7. Charles Moore, 'The BBC's worst scandal lies in our courts', Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2010.
  8. Maurice Cowling, Mill and Liberalism (Cambridge University Press, 1990) p.xxxii
  9. Charles Moore, 'Things the BBC didn't tell us about the Brixton riots', Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2011.
  10. Charles Moore, 'Things the BBC didn't tell us about the Brixton riots', Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2011.
  11. John Casey, 'The revival of Tory philosophy', The Spectator, 17 March 2007.