Earlier in the summer I was tidying some files at home and a copy of a magazine fell out of a file. It was called THE POLITICO and I published three issues of it while I was running Politico's in 2003. I started re-reading it and began to remember what a brilliant reaction it provoked at the time. It only had three issues because I then closed the shop and the people who produced it moved on to other things.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, over the past three months I have been putting together a business plan to launch a new political magazine, which is almost complete. Funding is nearly secured and we hope to publish the first issue in the Spring.
I have now left 18 Doughty Street, partly to get this project off the ground but also to give me time to write my new book (100 People Who are Screwing Up Britain) and also to take on other TV work. I will probably be presenting on the successor to 18 Doughty Street in some form, but on a freelance basis. I have also been signed up by a speakers' agency.
I hugely enjoyed my time at 18 Doughty Street and will miss what became a very tightly knit team, but as it moves into a new incarnation I felt now was the time to move on. There has been no falling out. I remain great friends with Stephan and Rosamund Shakespeare and for those who think that where there's smoke there must be fire, we're all having dinner in the next couple of weeks. I am hugely grateful to Stephan for the opportunity he gave me.
I am sure those who wish me or 18 Doughty Street ill will draw whatever conclusions they want to, no matter what I say, but our formal parting has been entirely amicable and I wish Stephan and the successor to 18 Doughty Street the very best and look forward to cooperating with it in some form in the future.
I am moving into a new office in Westminster later on today and will be recruiting staff to commence work in early January on the magazine. It is an entirely non-partisan initiative with no party political affiliation. I don't want to go into more detail at the moment but all will be revealed shortly. By the way, if anyone knows a LibDem inclined person who'd like to work as a production assistant, feel free to get in touch!
UPDATE: Thanks to all who have left good wishes in the comments. Can I just make clear that the magazine will have no party affiliation. The LibDem comment at the end was because we already have Labour and Tory supporting staff recruited and we'd quite like a LibDem too. Simple as that. I'll obviously be telling you more about the magazine in the coming weeks.