Daily Express deputy editor says he feels ‘slightly responsible’ for current political chaos due to paper’s Brexit stance

The Daily Express’s deputy editor has said he feels “slightly responsible” for the current political climate as four cabinet ministers quit in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit deal today.

Michael Booker, who also edits the Sunday Express, said: “I feel slightly responsible, being from the Daily Express.”

Speaking at Mindshare’s Huddle event in London today, Booker admitted he voted “remain” in the EU Referendum in 2016, but said the Express’ stance on Brexit was determined by its readers.

“You’ve got to play your strengths with your readers,” he said.

“Forty thousand of them signed a petition calling for a referendum. They didn’t think it would come to this particular situation… The politicians are making an absolute hash of it.”

Booker (pictured, right) added: “We are in a sticky position. It isn’t the Daily Express’ fault, but we will be covering it every step of the way.”

After Theresa May announced yesterday that she had received backing from the cabinet for a Brexit deal, the Express showed support for the Prime Minister this morning in a leader column describing it as “the best outcome we could expect” and praising her for “being completely honest with us”.

The front page showed a “determined” May speaking in Downing Street last night under the defiant headline: “It’s my deal… or no Brexit.”

Other Brexit-supporting papers were split on the deal, with the Daily Mail praising May for negotiating a “historic deal” against “insuperable odds” and the Sun splashing on the headline: “We’re in the Brexs*it”.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Brexit Minister Suella Braverman, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and Northern Ireland Minister Shailesh Vara all quit today in protest at the deal.

Also speaking at the Have Reach Got News For You panel, Reach group editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley said he did not think Brexit was going to happen. “It’s increasingly looking like a general election,” he added.

Embley told the Society of Editors annual conference earlier this month that changing the Brexit stance of the Daily Express would be “commercial suicide – so we won’t do it”.

Daily Express editor Gary Jones told Press Gazette soon after his appointment in March that it was important the newspaper maintained its support of Brexit.

“I’ve done a couple of front page wipe-outs which have pushed Brexit,” he said. “One was a picture of the white cliffs of Dover and a great quote from Boris Johnson that I think had a bit of impact.

“That to me is important and that’s what the Express and its politics is about.”

Picture: Press Gazette

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