William Rees-Mogg, who was editor of national newspaper for 14 years, dies of inoperable cancer, aged 84
Lord Rees-Mogg, the former editor of the Times, has died at the age of 84.
His son, the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, told the paper that the peer had only discovered recently that he had inoperable oesophageal cancer.
“It has been a mercifully short illness. He died very peacefully and a member of his family was with him. He was very prepared for it.”
David Cameron led tributes to the peer. “William Rees-Mogg is rightly a Fleet Street legend, editing The Times through a tumultuous period with flair and integrity,” he said. “I always found him full of wisdom and good advice, particularly when I first became leader of the opposition. “My thoughts are with his wife and five children at this sad time.”
As William Rees-Mogg, he was editor of the Times from January 1967 until March 1981. He was also a former vice-chairman of the BBC and chairman of the Arts Council.
After his tenure as editor, Rees-Mogg was a columnist, perceived to be influential in Tory circles, particularly during the Thatcher and Major governments.
He received a life peerage in 1988 and sat as a crossbencher, although he had twice in the 1950s stood for parliament as a Conservative.
In 1960, he joined the Sunday Times where he was successively city editor, political and economic editor and deputy editor, before becoming editor of The Times.
When Rupert Murdoch tried to take over the Times, Rees-Mogg led a group called Journalists of the Times which opposed the move and sought alternative buyers. Later, he threw his reputation behind Murdoch, and the staff felt betrayed.
As chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Council, Rees-Mogg was particularly critical of Coronation Street. He said it was a relic of the era of Harold Macmillan, bore little resemblance to modern society and did not have enough ethnic minorities in it.