Iain Dale

Iain Campbell Dale (born 15 July 1962) is a British broadcaster, political commentator and publisher. Dale writes the British political blog Iain Dale's Diary (founded in 2002) and frequently appears on UK news channels. In September 2003, he became the first openly gay Conservative candidate to contest a Parliamentary election.[1]

Iain Dale
Iain Dale, March 2009.jpg
Dale in 2009
Born (1962-07-15) 15 July 1962 (age 59)
EducationSaffron Walden County High School
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
Years active1998–present
Political partyConservative (until 2010)
John Simmons
(m. 2015)
WebsiteOfficial website

Dale was the managing director of Biteback Publishing until May 2018, and was the publisher of Total Politics magazine from 2008 to 2012.[2] Since September 2010, he has hosted a regular, major discussion show on LBC radio station. In both July 2013 and 2016, he won Radio Presenter of the Year at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards.

Education and early careerEdit

Dale was born in Cambridge and grew up in Essex, where he attended Ashdon County Primary School and Saffron Walden County High School. He obtained an upper second BA honours degree in German, Linguistics, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of East Anglia in 1985.[3] Prior to going to university, Dale spent his gap year as a nursing assistant at the Werner Wicker Klinik in West Germany. During his degree course he spent a year teaching English at the gymnasium in Besigheim.

Dale was research assistant to the Conservative Member of Parliament Patrick Thompson (1985–87), Public Affairs Manager for the British Ports Federation (1987–89), Financial Journalist with Lloyd's List (1989–90), and then deputy managing director of the Waterfront Partnership and managing director of the Waterfront Conference Company (1990–96).

Bookseller and publisherEdit

In 1997, he opened Politico's Bookstore and Coffee House in Westminster, selling a mix of political books, memorabilia and novelty items. The shop spawned sister publishing and web design businesses using the Politico's brand. He founded Politico's Publishing in 1998, and sold it in 2003 to Methuen Publishing. In 2004, Dale announced the closure of the walk-in bookshop and relocated the business to Kent as a mail-order operation. Later that year the Westminster premises re-opened as the Westminster Bookshop under the ownership of Methuen.

In 2006, Dale sold the Politico's Bookstore business to Harriman House. In 2012, Dale relaunched Politico's online as part of the Biteback Publishing business. Dale was also the publisher of Total Politics magazine from June 2008 until its sale to Dods (Group) PLC in December 2012.[2]

Writer and authorEdit

Dale's fortnightly comment column for The Daily Telegraph, which he began writing in February 2007, was discontinued in January 2009. He has also written for The Guardian, The Independent, GQ, The Spectator, Attitude and the New Statesman.

Between 2006 and 2013, Dale wrote a weekly diary column for the Eastern Daily Press. In December 2018, it was announced Dale would commence a new weekly column for both the Eastern Daily Press and its Archant stablemate, the East Anglian Daily Times.

Dale has written and edited 46 political books. This includes co-authoring, in May 2006, a book with fellow blogger Paul Staines (responsible for the Guido Fawkes website) about alleged instances of sleaze from the Labour government since it took office in 1997.[4] A second edition was published in June 2007.[5]

He has written histories of West Ham United and Norwich City for Haynes Publishing, and in 2015, wrote a book called The NHS: Things That Need to be Said for Elliott & Thompson. His most recent book is co-edited by former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and is a collection of biographical essays of every female MP elected to the House of Commons since 1918. Titled Honourable Ladies, a second volume is due to appear later in 2019.

Radio broadcasterEdit

Dale got his break in radio on BBC Radio 5 Live, where he was the regular cover for Andrew Pierce on Sunday Service with Fi Glover and Charlie Whelan. He presented a documentary on how the BBC covers general election results, Counting Chickens on the night of the 2001 general election, 7 June 2001. He also presented BBC Radio Four's The Westminster Hour, People & Politics on the BBC World Service and a number of episodes of What the Papers Say between 2010 and 2016.

Dale was a stand-in presenter for London radio station LBC 97.3 during the first nine months of 2010 after doing a couple of test programmes with other journalists. He co-presented LBC's six-hour election night programme on 7 May 2010, with Gaby Hinsliff. In May and June 2010, he presented the Petrie Hosken, Clive Bull, James Max and Jeni Barnett phone-in shows, and on 22 June 2010 fronted LBC's budget coverage.

In late July 2010, Dale started a six-week stint on LBC covering for Petrie Hosken and Andrew Pierce, which later turned into a regular show. Dale was the weekly evening presenter on LBC from 7 to 10 pm until March 2013, when Clive Bull took over. Dale instead replaced broadcaster James Whale as the presenter of the Drivetime show between 4 pm and 7 pm Monday to Friday. Dale continued to present the station's Sunday Politics show between 10 am and 1 pm each weekend for a further few weeks in March 2013 until Andrew Gilligan took over. On 3 September 2018, LBC changed their autumn schedule. Dale moved to the evening show (7–10pm), whilst Eddie Mair joined the station to take over Drivetime.

Dale formerly presented Planet Politics on Oneword Radio. He was also chief presenter on the failed internet TV station 18 Doughty Street.

Dale was shortlisted for Speech Radio Programme of the Year at the 2013 Sony Radio Academy Awards, and then went on to win Radio Presenter of the Year at the 2013 and 2016 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards. He won a Silver Sony for Interview of the Year at the 2014 Sony Awards for his interview with James from Woolwich who was an eyewitness to the murder of Lee Rigby.

Dale currently co-hosts a weekly political and current affairs podcast, entitled 'For The Many', alongside former Home Secretary and Labour MP Jacqui Smith.

Television broadcasterEdit

He is a regular pundit on Newsnight, The Andrew Marr Show, Jeremy Vine and Good Morning Britain.

Conservative candidate and bloggerEdit

In May 2005, Dale stood in the general election as Conservative candidate for North Norfolk, losing to the Liberal Democrat incumbent, Norman Lamb; Lamb was elected with a 10,000 plus majority compared with 483 at the previous election, which he fought against David Prior. Subsequently, Dale acted as chief of staff to the losing leadership candidate David Davis in the run-up to the 2005 Conservative Party leadership campaign.[6]

In August 2006, it was confirmed that he had been added to the Conservative A-List of candidates to fight the next general election.[7] He unsuccessfully applied for the Conservative candidacy for the safe seat Maidstone and The Weald.[8]

In October 2009, Dale ran for selection for the Conservative safe seat of Bracknell[9] in order to succeed Andrew MacKay, who stepped down at the 2010 general election. Dale came third in the run-off ballot behind Rory Stewart and the eventual winner Philip Lee.

Dale's blog, entitled Iain Dale's Diary, had been one of the most widely read political blogs in the UK. It was nominated by The Guardian for the Political Blog of the Year Award in 2005.[10] On 17 June 2010, Dale announced on his blog that he was resigning from the Conservative Party candidates list and would not be standing at any forthcoming parliamentary election.[11] On 14 December 2010, Dale announced that he was quitting both blogging at Iain Dale's Diary and party politics.[12][13]

In July 2011, Dale started a collaborative blog site, Dale & Co, with many contributors from the political spectrum, including himself. He continues to author a blog entitled West Ham Till I Die where he writes on West Ham United.[14]

Dale writes a weekly diary column for the website ConservativeHome,[15] where he also publishes his annual list of the '100 most influential people on the Right'.[16]

In the 2016 EU referendum, Dale voted for "Leave".[17]

Electoral historyEdit

General election 2005: North Norfolk[18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Norman Lamb 31,515 53.4 +10.7
Conservative Iain Dale 20,909 35.5 −6.3
Labour Phil Harris 5,447 9.2 −4.1
UKIP Stuart Agnew 978 1.7 +0.6
Independent Justin Appleyard 116 0.2 New
Majority 10,606 18.0 +17.1
Turnout 58,965 73.0 +2.8
Liberal Democrats hold Swing +8.5

Police caution for assaultEdit

On 24 September 2013, Dale became involved in a scuffle with Manchester pensioner Stuart Holmes, an anti-nuclear protester, on the Brighton seafront.[19] Holmes' placard had appeared on-screen behind Damian McBride, during an interview with McBride on breakfast television, coinciding with the Labour Party annual conference there.[20] McBride, a former special advisor to Gordon Brown, is one of Dale's authors at Biteback Publishing. Dale, who was not involved in the television interview, attempted to physically remove Holmes from the shot, resulting in the two men grappling on the ground.

On 26 September, Dale accepted a police caution for the assault.[21] Sussex Police had interviewed both men about the incident.[22] Dale subsequently posted an apology "to Mr Holmes, Mr Miliband [Labour Party leader Ed Miliband], the Police, my family, friends and colleagues".[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Dale has been openly gay since he was 40.[24] He entered into a civil partnership with his long-term partner John Simmons on 15 June 2008 at Wadhurst Castle in East Sussex.[25] This was converted to a marriage in 2015.[26] They have been together since 1995 and live in Tunbridge Wells;[27] before Dale met Simmons he lived in Walthamstow for six years from 1988.[28]


Iain Dale has edited, compiled or written forty books:

  • Unofficial Book of Political Lists, Robson Books, 1997
  • As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, Robson Books, 1997
  • The Blair Necessities, Robson Books, 1998
  • Bill Clinton Joke Book, Robson Books, 1998
  • Tony Blair New Labour Joke Book, Robson Books, 1998
  • Dictionary of Conservative Quotations, Politico's Publishing, 1999
  • Wit & Wisdom of Tony Banks, Robson Books, 1999
  • Labour Party General Election Manifestos 1900–97, Routledge 1999
  • Liberal Party General Election Manifestos 1900–97, Routledge, 1999
  • Conservative Party General Election Manifestos 1900–1997, Routledge, 1999
  • Memories of Maggie, Politico's Publishing, 2000
  • Tony Blair New New Labour Joke Book (2nd ed), Robson Books, 2000
  • Directory of Political Lobbying, Politico's Publishing, 2001
  • Directory of Political Websites, Politico's Publishing, 2001
  • Directory of Think Tank Publications, Politico's Publishing, 2001
  • Memories of the Falklands, Politico's Publishing, 2002
  • Prime Minister Portillo & Other Things That Never Happened, Politico's Publishing, 2003
  • Times Guides to the House of Commons 1906–10, Politico's Publishing, 2003
  • Times Guides to the House of Commons 1929–35, Politico's Publishing, 2003
  • Directory of Political Lobbying, Politico's Publishing, 2003
  • Politico's Book of the Dead, Politico's Publishing, 2003
  • Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute in Words & Pictures, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005
  • Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze, Politico's Media, 2006
  • Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze, Harriman House, 2007
  • 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic & Erudite Things Ever Said About Politics, Harriman House, 2007
  • Guide to Political Blogging in the UK, Harriman House, 2007
  • Little Book of Boris, Harriman House, 2007
  • Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2008–9, Total Politics, 2008
  • Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2009–10, Biteback Publishing, 2009
  • Total Politics Guide to the General Election, Biteback Publishing, 2009
  • Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2010–11, Biteback Publishing, 2010
  • Margaret Thatcher: In Her Own Words, Biteback Publishing, 2010
  • Talking Politics: Political Conversations With Iain Dale, Biteback Publishing, 2010
  • West Ham United: When Football Was Football, Haynes Publishing, 2011
  • Prime Minister Boris and Other Things That Never Happened, Biteback Publishing, 2011
  • The Bigger Book of Boris, Biteback Publishing 2011
  • Memories of the Falklands, Biteback Publishing (March 2012)
  • Norwich City: When Football Was Football, Haynes Publishing (April 2012)
  • The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, Biteback Publishing (August 2012)
  • The Blogfather: The Best of Iain Dale's Diary, Biteback Publishing (December 2012)
  • Memories of Margaret Thatcher, Biteback Publishing (April 2013)
  • Politico’s Guide to the 2015 General Election, Biteback Publishing (September 2014)
  • Seat by Seat, Biteback Publishing (February 2015)
  • Gay Shorts (Collected Attitude Columns), Biteback Publishing (February 2015)
  • The NHS: Things That Need to be Said, Elliott & Thompson (February 2015)
  • Prime Minister Corbyn and Other Things That Never Happened, Biteback Publishing, (September 2016)
  • The Honourable Ladies Volume 1: Women MPs 1918–1996, Biteback Publishing (September 2018)
  • The Honourable Ladies Volume 2: Women MPs 1997–2019, Biteback Publishing (November 2019)
  • The Big Book of Boris, Biteback Publishing (October 2018)
  • The Bernard Ingham Diaries - The Slow Downfall of Margaret Thatcher (ed. Iain Dale), Biteback Publishing (June 2019)
  • Why Can't We All Just Get Along, HarperCollins (August 2020)
  • The Prime Ministers 1721-2020: Three Hundred Years of Political Leadership, Hodder & Stoughton (November 2020)


  1. ^ Dale, Iain, Politics – Iain Dale has no problem being an openly gay Tory, New Statesman, 23 May 2005
  2. ^ a b "Total Politics Becomes Part of Dods – Iain Dale". www.iaindale.com. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Interview with Iain Dale Part 1". Political Promise (blog). 14 April 2011. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  4. ^ Dale, Iain; Fawkes, Guido (2006). The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze. Politico's Media. ISBN 1-904734-16-2.
  5. ^ Dale, Iain; Fawkes, Guido (2007). The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze. Harriman House. ISBN 978-1-905641-32-1. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Tory Conference at a glance". BBC News. 6 October 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  7. ^ "ConservativeHome's Seats & Candidates blog: The A-list top-up".
  8. ^ Public Service Announcement, Iain Dale's Diary
  9. ^ Why I'd Like to be MP For Bracknell Iain Dale's Diary, 29 September 2009
  10. ^ "Comment, opinion and discussion from the Guardian US".
  11. ^ Iain Dale's Diary: A Candidate No Longer. Iaindale.blogspot.com (17 June 2010). Retrieved on 2011-04-23.
  12. ^ "The Time Has Come to Stop Blogging (And Party Politics)". Iain Dale's Diary (blog). 14 December 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  13. ^ Anthony Barnett "Au revoir, Iain Dale", Our Kingdom (Open Democracy), 14 December 2010
  14. ^ "West Ham Till I Die". Iain Dale (blog). Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  15. ^ "Iain Dale | Conservative Home". Conservative Home. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Iain Dale's 100 most influential people on the Right 2017. May tops it. Davis is second. And Davidson third". Conservative Home. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  17. ^ "I voted Leave, but Brexit Doesn't Mean we Lose Everything European – Including Our Identity". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  19. ^ Heather Saul "Verbal battles over Damian McBride's memoirs at the Labour party conference escalate into fisticuffs as publisher fights protester", The Independent, 24 September 2013
  20. ^ "Iain Dale wrestles nuclear protester", telegraph.co.uk, 24 September 2013
  21. ^ "Iain Dale receives assault caution over Brighton scuffle", BBC News, 26 September 2013
  22. ^ "Damian McBride publisher Iain Dale quizzed over Brighton scuffle", BBC News, 25 September 2013
  23. ^ Dale, Iain. "Statement and Apology". Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  24. ^ Iain Dale's Diary: Crispin Blunt Comes Out. Iaindale.blogspot.com (27 August 2010). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  25. ^ Grew, Tony, Iain Dale to enter into a civil partnership, PinkNews, 27 May 2008
  26. ^ "On This Day I Got Married – Iain Dale". www.iaindale.com. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  27. ^ "Iain Dale | Biteback Publishing". www.bitebackpublishing.com. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  28. ^ "The Ups And Downs of Life". www.iaindale.com. Retrieved 30 March 2020.

External linksEdit