The Daily Mail could be set to soften its stance on Brexit following the appointment of pro-EU editor Geordie Greig, according to reports.
Paul Dacre turned the right wing rag into a political campaigning machine in the run-up to the referendum, often weaponizing nostalgia to stoke fear and resentment and courting controversy with front page headlines such as “Enemies of the people” in relation to the three judges who ruled the government would require the consent of Parliament to give notice of Brexit and “If you believe in Britain vote Leave” the day before the election.
Speculation that the paper would change following his departure was played down by Dacre shortly after the announcement that Greig would take the reins. Writing in a column for The Spectator Dacre said that support for Brexit “is in the DNA of both the Daily Mail” and “any move to reverse this would be editorial and commercial suicide.”
But a softening of its approach could be in the offing, and if public attitudes towards Brexit continues to shift then it could lay the groundwork for a reversal in its stance all together.
According to the Financial Times, shortly after Geordie Greig was appointed as the new editor of the Daily Mail this summer, John Major addressed him and other guests at a private dinner in London.
The former prime minister, who is against Brexit and who has called for a second referendum, said that Mr Greig now had “the power and the potential to change the political discourse of our country”. And Sir John isn’t the only politician, current and former, who is keeping a keen eye on any editorial shifts.
As editor of the Mail on Sunday, Greig frequently questioned the government’s Brexit strategy in its editorials, taking a strongly pro-Remain stance. Although “you don’t just alter your views because of the boss”, as one columnist told the FT, it could mean that “there will be fewer one-sided headlines and quotes from [leading proponents of a no-deal Brexit] Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrew Bridgen”, and more balance of views on the issue, opening the debate up to reasoned input rather than brazen mudslinging.