Fraser Nelson

Last updated
Fraser Nelson
Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson at 'Towards a Better Child Poverty Target'.jpg
Nelson speaking in 2012
Fraser Andrew Nelson

(1973-05-14) 14 May 1973 (age 45)
Truro, Cornwall, England
Alma mater University of Glasgow
City University
Occupation Journalist
Editor of The Spectator
Linda Nelson(m. 2006)

Fraser Andrew Nelson (born 14 May 1973) [1] [2] is a Scottish political journalist and editor of The Spectator magazine.

<i>The Spectator</i> British weekly conservative magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs

The Spectator is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828. It is owned by David and Frederick Barclay who also own The Daily Telegraph newspaper, via Press Holdings. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture. Its editorial outlook is generally supportive of the Conservative Party, although regular contributors include some outside that fold, such as Frank Field, Rod Liddle and Martin Bright. The magazine also contains arts pages on books, music, opera, and film and TV reviews.


Early and personal life

Born in Truro, Cornwall, [1] but raised in Nairn, Nelson was educated at Nairn Academy and Dollar Academy. He went on to study history and politics at the University of Glasgow and gained a diploma in journalism at City University. [3] He is Catholic, [4] and he once worked as a barman at Cleos in Rosyth. [5]

Truro city and civil parish in Cornwall, England

Truro is a city and civil parish in Cornwall, England. It is Cornwall's county town and only city and centre for administration, leisure and retail. Truro's population was recorded as 18,766 in the 2011 census. People from Truro are known as Truronians. As the southernmost city in mainland Britain, Truro grew as a centre of trade from its port and then as a stannary town for the tin mining industry. Its cathedral was completed in 1910. Places of interest include the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro Cathedral the Hall for Cornwall and Cornwall's Courts of Justice.

Cornwall County of England

Cornwall is a county in South West England in the United Kingdom. The county is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar which forms most of the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The furthest southwestern point of Great Britain is Land's End; the southernmost point is Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 563,600 and covers an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. The administrative centre of Cornwall, and its only city, is Truro.

Nairn town in Northern Scotland

Nairn is a town and former burgh in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is an ancient fishing port and market town around 17 miles (27 km) east of Inverness. It is the traditional county town of the county of Nairn, also known as Nairnshire.

Married with two sons and a daughter, [1] the family live in Twickenham. [6] He is married to Linda, a Swede, and says "I am a soppy Europhile who speaks a second language at home. The idea of a united Europe was one that really excited me when I was younger, and which I love now." [7]

Twickenham suburban area in west London, England

Twickenham is an affluent suburban area of west London, England. It lies on the River Thames and is 10 miles (16 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross. Historically part of Middlesex, it has formed part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames since 1965.

Swedes are a North Germanic ethnic group native to Sweden. They mostly inhabit Sweden and the other Nordic countries, in particular Finland, with a substantial diaspora in other countries, especially the United States.

Journalism career

Nelson began his journalistic career as a business reporter with The Times in 1997, followed by a short spell as Scottish political correspondent. [3] At a party he met Andrew Neil, then editor of The Scotsman who recruited him as its political editor in 2001. [3] In 2003 he moved to The Business , a sister title of The Scotsman in the Barclay brothers' Press Holdings group.

<i>The Times</i> British daily compact newspaper owned by News UK

The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

Andrew Neil Scottish journalist and broadcaster

Andrew Ferguson Neil is a British journalist and broadcaster.

<i>The Scotsman</i> British national daily newspaper

The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until August 2004. Its parent company, JPIMedia, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News. As of February 2017, it had an audited print circulation of 19,449, with a paid-for circulation of 88.3% of this figure, about 17,000. Its website,, had an average of 138,000 unique visitors a day as of 2017. The title celebrated its bicentenary on 25 January 2017.

In July 2004 the brothers bought The Telegraph Group, which included The Spectator and in December 2005 they sold The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Neil had been appointed Chief Executive of The Spectator after the Barclays bought it, and in 2006 he brought in Nelson as associate editor and then political editor of the magazine. [3] He replaced Matthew d'Ancona as editor of The Spectator when the latter left in August 2009. [8] Under his editorship, the magazine has reached a record high in print circulation. [9]

Matthew dAncona journalist

Matthew Robert Ralph d'Ancona is an English journalist. A former deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, he was appointed editor of The Spectator in February 2006, a post he retained until August 2009.

In addition to his role as editor of The Spectator, Nelson was a political columnist for the News of the World from 2006 [3] and a board director with the Centre for Policy Studies think tank. [8] [10] He was named Political Columnist of the Year in the 2009 Comment Awards. [11]

<i>News of the World</i> British tabloid newspaper

The News of the World was a national red top newspaper published in the United Kingdom from 1843 to 2011. It was at one time the highest-selling English-language newspaper in the world, and at closure still had one of the highest English-language circulations. It was originally established as a broadsheet by John Browne Bell, who identified crime, sensation and vice as the themes that would sell copies. The Bells sold to Henry Lascelles Carr in 1891; in 1969 it was bought from the Carrs by Rupert Murdoch's media firm News Limited. Reorganised into News International, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation, it was transformed into a tabloid in 1984 and became the Sunday sister paper of The Sun. The newspaper concentrated on celebrity-based scoops and populist news. Its fondness for sex scandals gained it the nickname News of the Screws. It had a reputation for exposing national or local celebrities' drug use, sexual peccadilloes, or criminal acts, setting up insiders and journalists in disguise to provide either video or photographic evidence, and phone hacking in ongoing police investigations. Sales averaged 2,812,005 copies per week in October 2010.

Centre for Policy Studies organization

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a think tank and pressure group in the United Kingdom. Its goal is to promote coherent and practical policies based on its founding principles of: free markets, small state, low tax, national independence, self determination and responsibility. While being independent, the centre has historical links to the Conservative Party.

A think tank, think factory or policy institute is a research institute/center and organization which performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture. Most policy institutes are non-profit organisations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax exempt status. Other think tanks are funded by governments, advocacy groups, or corporations, and derive revenue from consulting or research work related to their projects.

In 2013, the Evening Standard named Nelson as one of the most influential journalists working in London. [12] The British Society of Magazine Editors awarded Nelson the 2013 Editors' Editor of the Year. [13] In the same year he won the British Press Award as Political journalist of the Year. [14]

Style and beliefs

Nelson is a supporter of the Conservative Party. He describes The Spectator magazine under his editorship as "right of centre, but not strongly right of centre". [3] He on occasion criticised David Cameron's leadership but was generally supportive, and has also been known to praise Cameron's Liberal Democrat coalition partner from 2010 to 2015, Nick Clegg. [15]


Nelson has stated that he is a supporter of immigration. [16]

On 4 April 2014, Nelson published a piece in the Daily Telegraph entitled "The British Muslim is truly one among us – and proud to be so", which praised the integration of mainstream Islam in the UK and described it as one "of our great success stories". [17] He returned to the theme in May 2015, with an article entitled "The unsayable truth about immigration: it's been a stunning success for Britain". [18]

Gay marriage

The nuclear family

Charlie Hebdo

Nelson wrote two days after the Charlie Hebdo shooting a reflective piece in which he compared that massacre to the Deal barracks bombing by the Provisional Irish Republican Army: [4]

What does a massacre in Paris have to do with [Muslims]? To denounce this would accept the premise that, as a Muslim, you are somehow caught up in all of this. The difference, of course, is that the IRA murdered in the name of Irish republicanism, not Catholicism. Few people in Britain thought that the former was an extension of the latter. Any priest who voiced support for terrorism, anywhere, would be excommunicated – so no one could credibly claim any overlap. Islam is not so lucky. It has no effective means of banning hate preachers, and now has a new breed of fanatics happy to murder in its name... Overall, British Muslims have been poorly served by their leadership.

Nelson also noted that the Muslim Council of Britain released an unequivocal statement condemning the Paris massacre, while the Islamic Human Rights Commission had released nothing to that date.

Related Research Articles

David Cameron Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

David William Donald Cameron is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Witney from 2001 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to 2016. He identifies as a one-nation conservative, and has been associated with both economically liberal and socially liberal policies.

Andrew Gilligan British journalist and radio presenter

Andrew Paul Gilligan is a British journalist, currently senior correspondent of The Sunday Times and head of the Capital City Foundation at Policy Exchange. Between 2013 and 2016 he also worked as cycling commissioner for London. He is best known for a 2003 report on BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme in which he described a British government briefing paper on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction as 'sexed up'.

Nick Clegg British politician

Sir Nicholas William Peter Clegg is a British former politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015 and as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015. An "Orange Book" liberal, Clegg served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Hallam from 2005 to 2017 and has been associated with both socially liberal and economically liberal policies. He is currently Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook.

Roderick E. Liddle is an English journalist and an associate editor of The Spectator. He was an editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. His published works include, Too Beautiful for You (2003), Love Will Destroy Everything (2007), The Best of Liddle Britain and the semi-autobiographical Selfish Whining Monkeys (2014). He has presented television programmes, including The New Fundamentalists, The Trouble with Atheism, and Immigration Is A Time Bomb.

Charles Moore (journalist) English journalist and newspaper editor

Charles Hilary Moore 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.

David Goodhart British journalist

David Goodhart is a British journalist, commentator, and author. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect magazine.

Peter Alan Oborne is a British journalist and broadcaster. He is the former chief political commentator of The Daily Telegraph, from which he resigned in early 2015. He is author of The Rise of Political Lying and The Triumph of the Political Class, and, with Frances Weaver, the pamphlet Guilty Men. He writes a political column for the Daily Mail and Middle East Eye.

Press Holdings and May Corporation Limited are two Jersey registered holding companies owned by the Barclay brothers, which controls the UK holding company Press Acquisitions Limited, which in turn owns the Telegraph Media Group, parent company of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.

James Mark Court Delingpole is an English writer, journalist, and columnist who has written for a number of publications, including the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Spectator. He is executive editor for Breitbart London, and has published several novels and four political books. He describes himself as a libertarian conservative. He has published articles rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change and expressing opposition to wind power.

Douglas Murray (author) British political commentator

Douglas Kear Murray is a British author, journalist, and political commentator. He is the founder of the Centre for Social Cohesion and is the associate director of the Henry Jackson Society and associate editor of the British political and cultural magazine The Spectator. Murray writes for a number of publications, including Standpoint, The Wall Street Journal and The Spectator. He is the author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (2005), Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry (2011) about the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017).

Alex Massie is a Scottish freelance journalist commentator based in Edinburgh.

Damian Thompson is an English journalist, editor and author. He is an associate editor of The Spectator and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald. Previously he worked for The Daily Telegraph where he was religious affairs correspondent and later blogs editor and a Saturday columnist.

Daniel Pearce Jackson Hodges is a British newspaper columnist. Since March 2016, he has written a weekly column for The Mail on Sunday. Prior to this, he was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and in 2013 was described by James Forsyth in The Spectator as David Cameron's "new favourite columnist". Formerly a member of the Labour Party, Hodges is known for his centrist views, his strong support for Tony Blair and his critical stance on the running of his former party.

Ed West is an author, journalist and blogger, who is the deputy editor of The Catholic Herald. Previously he wrote a column for The Daily Telegraph. In June 2013, he began blogging and writing for The Spectator.

Mo Ansar British Muslim commentator

Mohammed "Mo" Ansar is a British Muslim political and social commentator.

Peter Hoskin is a British journalist. He is Deputy Editor of the Finch Publishing group.

Isabel Hardman British journalist

Isabel Hardman is a political journalist and the assistant editor of The Spectator. In 2015, she was named Journalist of the Year at the Political Studies Association's annual awards.

Isabel Oakeshott British political journalist

Isabel Euphemia Oakeshott is a British political journalist and broadcaster.


  1. 1 2 3 "Nelson, Fraser Andrew, (born 14 May 1973), Editor, The Spectator, since 2009". Who's Who. 2011. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.253929.
  2. "Fraser Nelson". The Media Briefing. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sabbagh, Dan (17 February 2013). "Fraser Nelson: The Spectator is more cocktail party than political party". The Guardian . Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  4. 1 2 Nelson, Fraser (9 January 2015). "British Muslims deserve better leaders - and they'll need them". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  5. Nelson, Fraser (15 October 2012). "Keep Gordon Brown out of the battle for Scotland". The Spectator . Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  6. "Fraser Nelson". David Higham Associates . Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  7. Aitkenhead, Decca (18 April 2014). "Fraser Nelson, Spectator editor: 'I'd put £1,000 on Ed Miliband to win the election'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  8. 1 2 Brook, Stephen (28 August 2009). "Fraser Nelson to replace Matthew d'Ancona as Spectator editor". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  9. Nelson, Nelson (15 February 2018). "The Spectator's print sales hit a 190-year high – thanks to digital". The Spectator. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  10. Fraser Nelson profile Centre for Policy Studies
  11. "Comment Awards - Previous Winners 2009". Editorial Intelligence. 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  12. "The Power 1000 - London's most influential people 2013: Thinkfluentials, News junkies". London Evening Standard . 20 September 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  13. "BSME Awards 2013 Winners" (Press release). British Society of Magazine Editors. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  14. "Winners for 2013". The Press Awards. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  15. Nelson, Fraser (19 September 2010). "How I learned to stop worrying and rate Nick Clegg". The Spectator. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  16. Nelson, Fraser (27 March 2014). "Only one person is laughing at the Farage-Clegg EU pantomime". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  17. Nelson, Fraser (5 April 2014). "The British Muslim is truly one among us – and proud to be so". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  18. Nelson, Fraser (21 May 2015). "The unsayable truth about immigration: it's been a stunning success for Britain". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  19. 1 2 3 Nelson, Fraser (13 December 2012). "Britain is getting a glimpse of the crazy world of culture wars". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.

Further reading

Media offices
Preceded by
Matthew d'Ancona
Editor of The Spectator