Fraser Nelson
Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson at
Nelson speaking in 2012
Fraser Andrew Nelson

(1973-05-14) 14 May 1973 (age 48)
Truro, Cornwall, England
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
City University
Editor of The Spectator
Linda Nelson
(m. 2006)

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

Early and personal life

Nelson was born in Truro, Cornwall,[1] but raised in Nairn. He attended Nairn Academy before boarding at Dollar Academy while his father, who was in the Royal Air Force, was posted to Cyprus.[3] He went on to study history and politics at the University of Glasgow and gained a diploma in journalism at City University.[4] He is Catholic,[5] and he once worked as a barman at Cleos in Rosyth.[6]

Married with two sons and a daughter,[1] the family live in Twickenham.[7] He is married to Linda, a Swede, and said in 2014, "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."[8]

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.[4] At a party he met Andrew Neil, then editor of The Scotsman who recruited him as its political editor in 2001.[4] In 2003 he moved to The Business, a sister title of The Scotsman in the Barclay brothers' Press Holdings group.

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.[4] He replaced Matthew d'Ancona as editor of The Spectator when the latter left in August 2009.[9] Under his editorship, the magazine has reached a record high in print circulation.[10]

In addition to his role as editor of The Spectator, Nelson was a political columnist for the News of the World from 2006[4] and a board director with the Centre for Policy Studies think tank.[9][11] He was named Political Columnist of the Year in the 2009 Comment Awards.[12]

In 2013, the Evening Standard named Nelson as one of the most influential journalists working in London.[13] The British Society of Magazine Editors awarded Nelson the 2013 Editors' Editor of the Year.[14] In the same year he won the British Press Award as Political journalist of the Year.[15]

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".[4] 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.[16]

In May 2018 he was heavily criticised for publishing a defense of German troops by Taki titled "In praise of the Wehrmacht" which said readers should feel sorry for Wehrmacht soldiers at Normandy.[17][18][19]


Nelson has stated that he is a supporter of immigration.[20]

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".[21] 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".[22]

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:[5]

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.


  1. ^ a b c "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. ^ Nelson, Fraser (4 June 2016). "Purge of the posh". The Spectator.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Sabbagh, Dan (17 February 2013). "Fraser Nelson: The Spectator is more cocktail party than political party". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Nelson, Fraser (9 January 2015). "British Muslims deserve better leaders - and they'll need them". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  6. ^ Nelson, Fraser (15 October 2012). "Keep Gordon Brown out of the battle for Scotland". The Spectator. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Fraser Nelson". David Higham Associates. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Brook, Stephen (28 August 2009). "Fraser Nelson to replace Matthew d'Ancona as Spectator editor". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  10. ^ Nelson, Nelson (15 February 2018). "The Spectator's print sales hit a 190-year high – thanks to digital". The Spectator. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  11. ^ Fraser Nelson profile Centre for Policy Studies
  12. ^ "Comment Awards - Previous Winners 2009". Editorial Intelligence. 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  13. ^ "The Power 1000 - London's most influential people 2013: Thinkfluentials, News junkies". London Evening Standard. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  14. ^ "BSME Awards 2013 Winners" (Press release). British Society of Magazine Editors. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Winners for 2013". The Press Awards. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  16. ^ Nelson, Fraser (19 September 2010). "How I learned to stop worrying and rate Nick Clegg". The Spectator. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Spectator editor Fraser Nelson claims power of editors 'comically overstated' in 500th issue under his editorship". 5 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Respected British magazine publishes defense of Nazi German troops". The Times of Israel.
  19. ^ "Rod Liddle's latest column shows just how low the Spectator will go for attention".
  20. ^ Nelson, Fraser (27 March 2014). "Only one person is laughing at the Farage-Clegg EU pantomime". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ a b c 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 byMatthew d'Ancona Editor of The Spectator 2009–present Incumbent