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Richard Norton-Taylor (born 6 June 1944) is a British editor, journalist and playwright.

Richard Norton-Taylor
Richard Seymour Norton-Taylor

(1944-06-04) 4 June 1944 (age 75)
EducationHertford College (University of Oxford)
OccupationEditor, journalist and playwright
Spouse(s)Anna C. Rendle (married 1967)

He writes for The Guardian on defence and security matters and was the newspaper's security editor .


Early life and educationEdit

He was born Richard Seymour Norton-Taylor to Lt. Seymour Norton-Taylor, R.A. and Gweneth Joan Powell (died 9 January 1978).

Norton-Taylor was educated at Kings School in Canterbury, Kent, and at Hertford College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford.


He was European Community and Brussels, Belgium, correspondent for both The Washington Post and Newsweek between 1967 and 1975, while also contributing to The Economist and the Financial Times.

Norton-Taylor joined The Guardian in 1975, concentrating on Whitehall, official secrecy and behind-the-scenes decision-making. In 1988 he made an extended appearance on the TV discussion programme After Dark, alongside (among others) Harold Musgrove, Hilary Wainwright and George Brumwell, discussing his book "Blacklist: Inside Story of Political Vetting".

He has written several plays based on transcripts of public inquiries including The Colour of Justice (1999) based on the hearing of the MacPherson Inquiry into the police conduct of the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and Justifying War: Scenes from the Hutton Inquiry (2003), both of which premiered at Tricycle Theatre.

He left The Guardian in July 2016.[1] Norton-Taylor is a Member of Council of the Royal United Services Institute and a trustee of the Civil Liberties Trust and the London Action Trust.


Norton-Taylor won the 1986 Freedom of Information Campaign award, and the same year was prevented by a court injunction from reporting the contents of Spycatcher (1987), the memoirs of the former MI5 agent, Peter Wright. The government's injunction was dismissed in the High Court by Lord Justice Scott.

He was one of the few journalists to cover the Scott inquiry from start to finish. His play, Half the Picture, based on the inquiry, received a 1994 Time Out Drama, Comedy and Dance award for its "brave initiative".

In 2010, with fellow Guardian journalist, Ian Cobain, he was awarded a Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award from Liberty for their "investigation into Britain’s complicity in the use of torture".[2]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1967, he married Anna C. Rendle, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Rendle, of Kemerton, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Norton Taylor, Richard (18 July 2016). "Brussels was paradise for journalists ... and full of spies'". The Guardian: 31.
  2. ^ Liberty, List of previous winners
  3. ^ "Forthcoming marriages". The Times: 12. 16 June 1967.

External linksEdit