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

Charles Moore
Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, at Edmund Burke Philosopher, Politician, Prophet.jpg
Moore speaking at Policy Exchange in 2013
Charles Hilary Moore

(1956-10-31) 31 October 1956 (age 62)
Hastings, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
EducationEton College
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
OccupationJournalist, Editor
EmployerThe Spectator
The Daily Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph
Known forHis authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher
Caroline Baxter (m. 1981)

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

Early life and careerEdit

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, Moore 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 to Trinity College, Cambridge, at the same time as Letwin. At Eton he had also known Nicholas Coleridge, who was also at Trinity.[4] He read English (2.1) and History (2.1) and graduated 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] In The Spectator in 2018 he wrote that "religious freedom is central to all freedoms".[10]

Owing to falling circulation, there had been speculation by 2003[11] about Moore's future prior to his resignation in the autumn of that year.[12] Moore had been editor when stories about George Galloway,[11][13] 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.[14]

Later careerEdit

Moore is a vehement critic of the BBC, which he believes has a left-wing bias.[12][15] Moore was fined £262 for not possessing a TV licence in May 2010,[16] 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.[17] He saw the episode as part of an ongoing "pathology" at the BBC, rather than being an isolated incident.[17]

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".[18][19]

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."[20] 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."[21]

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 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.[citation needed]

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."[22]

As of 2015, Moore wrote 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 about the 2015 Labour Party (UK) leadership election, entitled "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; and Tessa Jowell, candidate for the Labour nomination for Mayor of London and former Minister and MP; along with several journalists and MPs of various parties.[23][24]

In January 2017, Moore robustly defended Donald Trump after the President caused international outrage by attempting to ban citizens of several Muslim nations entering the US. Moore described the criticisms of Trump as "foaming" and "ridiculous" in an editorial for The Daily Telegraph newspaper.[25] On the same day, the same newspaper reported that over 750,000 UK citizens had signed a petition calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trump's invitation to make a state visit to the UK.[26]

In April 2017 he authored an article for The Telegraph which advocated "a bonfire of green regulations" and a return to fossil fuels to improve the British economy after Brexit.[27]

In August 2019, he was criticised for suggesting that Olivia Coleman had a "distinctly leftwing face" which cast a doubt in his mind on her ability to play the role of the Queen in the upcoming new season of The Crown.[28]

Biographer of Margaret ThatcherEdit

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".[29] On 17 April, the day of Thatcher's funeral, Moore said that parts of the country showing enmity were considered "relatively less important".[30]

He had left his post as editor of The Daily Telegraph in 2003 to spend more time writing Thatcher's authorised biography.[1][12] Always intended to be published after her death, the first volume, entitled Not For Turning, was published shortly after her funeral.[15] Moore does not know exactly why he was chosen to write the biography, but believes it was probably because of his age, and because he was familiar with all the main characters of Thatcher's time in government, without being especially strongly linked to any one of them. He was selected by Thatcher, without his prior knowledge, out of a list of names which were presented to her.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

He married Caroline Baxter (whom he had met at university) during 1981[11] 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 as priests in 1992.[32][33] His wife, a former English don at Cambridge University, chose not to make such a move and remains an Anglican.[34]

Moore is the founder-chairman of the Rectory Society which is dedicated to preserving past and present parsonages.[6]


  • Moore, Charles (2013). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, volume one: Not for Turning. Allen Lane. ISBN 9780713992823.
  • Moore, Charles (2015). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, volume two: Everything She Wants. Allen Lane. ISBN 9780713992885.
  • Moore, Charles (2019). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, volume three: Herself Alone. Allen Lane. ISBN 9780241324745.
Critical studies and reviews of Moore's work
  • Howard, John (January–February 2016). "Seized with outcomes". Quadrant. 60 (1–2): 73–75. Review of Margaret Thatcher : the authorized biography, volume two : everything she wants.


  1. ^ a b 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 Propaganda, London: Macmillan Pan, 2004, p.134
  3. ^ a b c d Zoë Heller A Better Class of Person: Charles Moore, The Independent, 31 January 1993
  4. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ a b Keith Miller "Charles Moore: profile", The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2011
  7. ^ " - CBSi".
  8. ^ a b Charles Moore "A free country", The Daily Telegraph, 16 July 2001
  9. ^ a b c Euan Ferguson "Charles Moore, the reluctant revolutionary", The Observer, 8 July 2001
  10. ^ "Does anyone know how we can entice our house martins back? | The Spectator". The Spectator. 7 July 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "The man gunning for Galloway". BBC News. 23 April 2003.
  12. ^ a b c Janine Gibson "Toodle-pip", The Guardian, 2 October 2003
  13. ^ Ciar Byrne "Galloway threatens to sue Telegraph", media guardian, 22 April 2003
  14. ^ "Galloway wins Saddam libel case", BBC News, 2 December 2004
  15. ^ a b 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
  16. ^ James Robinson "Charles Moore fined for Jonathan Ross-inspired TV licence boycott", The Guardian, 11 May 2010
  17. ^ a b Charles Moore "The BBC was too scared to sack Jonathan Ross, so the obscenity goes on", The Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2008
  18. ^ Charles Moore (29 August 2014). "Douglas Carswell can see where politics is going . he's a true moderniser". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Charles Moore "Why Lord Snotty is the Ideal Role Model for David Cameron", The Daily Telegraph, 4 December 2009
  21. ^ Charles Moore "I'm starting to think that the Left might actually be right", The Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2011
  22. ^ "Islamists only want one thing. We cannot appease them", 3 July 2015
  23. ^ "Spectator magazine under fire for article on Liz Kendall's and Yvette Cooper's looks".
  24. ^ "This Spectator Article On Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall Is All Kinds Of 1950s Wrong". 23 August 2015.
  25. ^ "The foaming attacks on Donald Trump are more ridiculous than anything he has done". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Parliament set to debate Donald Trump's UK state visit after petition to cancel it gets more than 800,000 signatures". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  27. ^ Moore, Charles (28 April 2017). "Brexit Britain can't thrive without cheap energy. We need a bonfire of green regulations" – via
  28. ^ Busby, Mattha (24 August 2019). "Telegraph columnist derided for saying Olivia Colman has 'leftwing face'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Moore: 'In this song Mrs Thatcher is Dorothy'", BBC News, 12 April 2013
  30. ^ "Charles Moore on 'Relatively Less Important' Areas of the UK - David L Rattigan".
  31. ^ Charles Moore, an interview with Luke O Sullivan in Quadrapheme Magazine Archived 8 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Chad Hatfield "Anglican Options: Rome or Orthodoxy?", Anglican Orthodox Pilgrim, 3:1, nd
  33. ^ Peter Stanford "After 500 years, has the Pope outfoxed the Archbishop?", The Independent on Sunday, 25 October 2009
  34. ^ Luke Coppen "‘The Church always needs new blood’", Catholic Herald, 18 July 2011

External linksEdit

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Preceded by
Alexander Chancellor
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Dominic Lawson
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Deputy Editor of The Daily Telegraph
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Editor of The Sunday Telegraph
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