Peter Whittle (politician)

Peter Robin Whittle (born 6 January 1961) is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster who served as a Member of the London Assembly (AM) for Londonwide from 2016 to 2021. He is the founder and director of the New Culture Forum think tank and host of So What You're Saying Is..., a weekly cultural and political interview show on YouTube.

Peter Whittle
Peter Whittle (Cropped) (38016814542).jpg
Whittle in 2017
Leader of the Brexit Alliance in the London Assembly
In office
13 December 2018 – 6 May 2021
DeputyDavid Kurten
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Deputy Leader of the UK Independence Party
In office
28 November 2016 – 18 October 2017
LeaderPaul Nuttall
Steve Crowther (Acting)
Preceded byPaul Nuttall
Succeeded byMargot Parker
UKIP Spokesperson for Culture and Communities
In office
24 July 2014 – 18 October 2017
LeaderNigel Farage
Diane James (Designate)
Paul Nuttall
Steve Crowther (Acting)
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDavid Meacock
Leader of UKIP in the London Assembly
In office
6 May 2016 – 22 January 2018
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Member of the London Assembly for Londonwide
In office
6 May 2016 – 8 May 2021
Personal details
Born (1961-01-06) 6 January 1961 (age 61)
Waterloo, London, England
Political partyIndependent (2018–present)
Other political
affiliations
Brexit Alliance (2018–2021)
UK Independence Party (until 2018)
Residence(s)London, England
Alma materUniversity of Kent
CommitteesConfirmation Hearings Committee
GLA Oversight Committee
Police and Crime Committee

After a career in media in the United Kingdom and United States, Whittle founded the New Culture Forum in 2006. He joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and was the party's candidate for the 2016 London mayoral contest, which was held at the same time as his election to the London Assembly. He served as the party's deputy leader between November 2016 and October 2017 and was a prominent, if unsuccessful, candidate in the 2017 UKIP leadership election.

Whittle resigned as UKIP's London Assembly leader in January 2018, following Henry Bolton's refusal to stand down following a vote of no confidence in his leadership by UKIP's National Executive Committee. He resigned his membership of UKIP in protest at Gerard Batten's leadership in December 2018, after which he served as leader of the new Brexit Alliance in the London Assembly and as chairman of the Assembly's audit panel.

Early lifeEdit

Whittle was born in the General Lying-in Hospital in Waterloo, London.[1] Shortly after his birth Whittle's family moved across South East London, from Peckham to Shooter's Hill. Whittle attended The John Roan School, Orpington College and the University of Kent, where he obtained a BA in history and politics.[2][3]

CareerEdit

Television and newspapersEdit

Between 1991 and 2003 Whittle worked as a TV producer and director of arts and factual programmes for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, including a prolonged stint at the long-running TV arts series The South Bank Show, as well as USA Network and Fox Broadcasting Company in the United States, living for five years in Los Angeles.[4][5][6]

As a journalist he was an arts and film critic for national and international publications including The Times, The Sunday Times and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a columnist for Standpoint magazine (for which he wrote "Whittle's London").[2][7] Starting with regular contributions as a cultural commentator and critic on BBC Two's Newsnight Review (later The Review Show) in the 2000s, Whittle has made appearances in the broadcast media, on programmes such as Question Time and The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, and Start the Week, Any Questions? and The Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

New Culture ForumEdit

In 2006 Whittle founded the New Culture Forum (NCF), a think tank whose mission is described as "challenging the cultural orthodoxies dominant in the media, academia, education, and British culture in its widest sense."[14] Speakers at NCF events, including for its annual keynote Smith Lecture, have included Martin Amis, Dame Vivien Westwood, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, Justin Webb, Sir Anthony Seldon, Petroc Trelawny, Ed Vaizey, Melanie Phillips, Brendan O'Neill and Owen Jones. Writers for the New Culture Forum have included Douglas Murray, Julie Bindel, Ed West and Dennis Sewell.[15]

In 2019 Whittle launched the New Culture Forum channel, a YouTube channel which aims to redress the balance which it claims is currently lacking in the mainstream media. Now one of the UK's most popular conservative/rightwing channels, the NCF channel currently provides three distinct programmes: "So What You're Saying Is...", "NCF CounterCulture" and "NCF Newspeak".[16][17]

Hosted by Whittle himself, So What You're Saying Is...is the New Culture Forum's flagship interview programme and is named after a phrase repeatedly uttered by Cathy Newman of Britain's Channel 4 News during a combative interview with the Canadian psychologist and professor of psychology Jordan Peterson. The interview, regarded by many commentators as symbolic of a wider problem amongst the mainstream media, became a viral phenomenon, with critics alleging Newman's preconceptions led her to misinterpret Peterson and alter his statements.[18][19]

Covering newsworthy cultural, social and political topics, So What You're Saying Is... features 30-60 minute discussions with experts, notable figures and others from fields such as journalism, academia, politics and activism. Guests and topics have included Peter Hitchens and Sir Roger Scruton on conservatism, Laurence Fox on the Reclaim Party, Ann Widdecombe on free speech, Dave Rubin on the culture wars and Robin Aitken on bias at the BBC.[16][17]

Following the success of "So What You're Saying Is...", Whittle launched "NCF CounterCulture", a cultural and socio-political discussion show. Hosted by Whittle, the weekly programme features a panel composed of a resident panelist (the author & historian Rafe Heydel-Mankoo) and 2-3 guest panelists. Guest panelists have included Lionel Shriver, Claire Fox, James Delingpole, Charles Moore and Andrew Klavan.[16][17]

The NCF channel's third weekly programme, NCF Newspeak, provides a platform for individuals to personally address the public on a relevant subject of their choosing by means of a short, self-authored speech direct to camera.[16][17]

PoliticsEdit

Whittle became UKIP's cultural spokesman in 2013[20] and stood for Eltham at the 2015 general election, coming third with 15% of the vote, a vote share surpassing both the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.[3]

In September 2015, Whittle was selected as the UKIP candidate for Mayor of London, as well as topping the party list for election to the London Assembly.[6] He was subsequently elected as a London Assembly Member in the Assembly elections of May 2016.[21][22]

 
Whittle in the London Assembly

On 12 October 2016, Whittle announced his intention to stand for UKIP leader in November's election called following the resignation of Diane James after just 18 days; however, on reflection, he decided to stand for the position of deputy leader instead and was duly successful in this candidature. On 28 November 2016, it was announced that Whittle was the new deputy leader of UKIP, replacing Paul Nuttall, then newly appointed as party leader. Following the election of Henry Bolton as leader of UKIP in October 2017, Whittle left the role of deputy leader and was appointed UKIP spokesman for London affairs (the party's leader in the London Assembly).[23] He resigned as London spokesman on 22 January 2018, following Bolton's refusal to stand down after a vote of no confidence in his leadership by UKIP's National Executive Committee.[24]

In December 2018, Whittle resigned from UKIP in protest at Gerard Batten's leadership.[25] He then served as an independent member of the London Assembly and leader of the Assembly's Brexit Alliance group, as well as chairman of the London Assembly's audit panel and a member of its police and crime committee, the Greater London Authority (GLA) oversight committee and confirmation hearings committee.[26] The Brexit Alliance was a GLA grouping of independents and not a registered political party, and it consisted of Whittle and David Kurten, who continued to be a member of UKIP until January 2020.[27]

He did not seek re-election in the 2021 London Assembly election.

Personal lifeEdit

Whittle lives in South East London.[28] He is openly gay and was the only LGBT candidate selected by any of the parties for the 2016 London mayoral election.[29]

BooksEdit

  • Look at Me: Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain, London: 2008 (1st edn), 2018 (2nd edn).
  • Private Views: Voices from the Frontline of British Culture, London: 2009.
  • A Sorry State: Self-Denigration in British Culture, London: 2010.
  • Monarchy Matters, London: 2011.
  • Being British: What's Wrong With It?, London: 2012.
  • Reel Life: Peter Whittle at the Movies, London: 2014.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "IMDb biography: Peter Whittle". IMDb. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b 'WHITTLE, Peter Robin', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017
  3. ^ a b "UKIP announces Mayoral candidate and list for GLA" (Press release). UKIP. 26 September 2015. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  4. ^ Whittle, Peter (7 May 2008). Look at Me: Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain. London: Social Affairs Unit. ISBN 9781904863311. ASIN 1904863310.
  5. ^ "New Culture Spokesman Peter Whittle". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "UKIP selects Peter Whittle as London mayoral candidate". BBC News. 26 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Whittle's London". Standpoint. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Profile of Newsnight Review panellist Peter Whittle". Newsnight Review. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Question Time 09/02/2017". Question Time. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Andrew Marr Show 26/02/2017". The Andrew Marr Show. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Start The Week 28/03/2011". Start the Week. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Any Questions 03/12/2016". Any Questions. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  13. ^ "The Moral Maze 14/07/2010". The Moral Maze. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  14. ^ "New Culture Forum Facebook Page". Facebook. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  15. ^ "New Culture Forum Events". New Culture Forum. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d "New Culture Forum Events". New Culture Forum. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d "New Culture Forum". Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  18. ^ Doward, Jamie (21 January 2018). "'Back off', controversial professor urges critics of C4 interviewer". The Observer. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Security for British TV personality bolstered after interview with Jordan Peterson". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  20. ^ Banham, Mark (26 September 2015). "Ukip chooses Peter Whittle as London Mayor candidate ahead of deputy chair Suzanne Evans". International Business Times. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Results 2016". London Elects. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  22. ^ "London Mayoral Election 2016: Labour dominate vote". BBC News. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  23. ^ Walker, Peter (18 October 2017). "New Ukip leader Henry Bolton reveals frontbench lineup". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  24. ^ Heffer, Greg (22 January 2018). "UKIP crisis as top figures quit and tell leader Henry Bolton to go". Sky News. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  25. ^ Peter Whittle AM (7 December 2018). ""I have today resigned from UKIP. My letter of resignation can be read here.."". Twitter.com. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Peter Whittle London Assembly". The London Assembly. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Ukip London Assembly members form new Brexit Alliance group". Evening Standard. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Peter Whittle". london.gov.uk. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  29. ^ Duffy, Nick (26 September 2015). "UKIP picks gay candidate Peter Whittle to run for Mayor of London". Pink News. Retrieved 28 September 2015.

External linksEdit