Charles Hilary Moore (born 31 October 1956) is an English journalist and a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. He still writes for the first and last of these publications.
Moore speaking at Policy Exchange in 2013
Charles Hilary Moore|
31 October 1956
Hastings, Sussex, United Kingdom
Trinity College, Cambridge
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, who unsuccessfully stood for the party at several general elections. While at Eton in 1974, he wrote about his membership of the Liberals in the Eton Chronicle, and also about his taste for Real Ale. During this period he was already a friend of Oliver Letwin. Moore remained a Liberal into his early twenties.
Moore went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, at the same time as Letwin. At Eton he had also known Nicholas Coleridge, who was also at Trinity. He read English (2.1) and History (2.1) and graduated BA in 1979. By now an advocate of architectural conservation, he became an admirer of the work in this field of (then) Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman.
In 1979 he joined The Daily Telegraph as a political correspondent, and, after a short period on the 'Peterborough' gossip column, was writing leaders within two years by the age of 24. In 1982 Moore wrote a pamphlet for the Salisbury Group, entitled The Old People of Lambeth (1982).
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."
Moore became editor of The Daily Telegraph in 1995. In 2001, his signed editorial "A Free Country" gained some notice elsewhere in the media. 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. 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." In the Spectator in 2018 he wrote that "religious freedom is central to all freedoms".
Owing to falling circulation, there had been speculation by 2003 about Moore's future prior to his resignation in the autumn of that year. Moore had been editor when stories about George Galloway, 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.
Moore is a vehement critic of the BBC, which he believes has a left-wing bias. Moore was fined £262 for not possessing a TV licence in May 2010, 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. He saw the episode as part of an ongoing "pathology" at the BBC, rather than being an isolated incident.
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".
In December 2009, regarding the Beano character Lord Snooty, also his Private Eye nickname, Moore thought that "he is the ideal role model for David Cameron." 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."
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.
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."
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 Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 2015, 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.
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. 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.
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". On 17 April, the day of Thatcher's funeral, Moore said that parts of the country showing enmity were considered "relatively less important".
He had left his post as editor of The Daily Telegraph in 2003 to spend more time writing Thatcher's authorised biography. Always intended to be published after her death, the first volume, entitled Not For Turning, was published shortly after her funeral. 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.
Moore converted to Roman Catholicism following the Church of England's decision to allow the ordination of women as priests in 1992. His wife, a former English don at Cambridge University, chose not to make such a move and remains an Anglican.
| Editor of The Spectator
| Deputy Editor of The Daily Telegraph
Trevor Grove and Veronica Wadley
| Editor of The Sunday Telegraph
Sir Max Hastings
| Editor of The Daily Telegraph