Fraser Nelson is editor of The Spectator, a position he has held for 13 years over which the magazine’s sales have doubled. He also writes a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph and sits on the advisory board of two think tanks: the Centre for Policy Studies and the Centre for Social Justice.
Raised in Nairn, in the Scottish Highlands, he started out as a financial journalist with The Times. After the opening of the Scottish Parliament, he served as the newspaper’s Scottish Political Correspondent in Edinburgh. There he met Andrew Neil who recruited him to The Scotsman newspaper where he was political editor until January 2006 when the Barclay family sold the paper. Nelson stayed with the Barclays and joined The Spectator where he was made political editor and then editor.
As editor, he made The Spectator multi-platform with a live news blog, a suite of podcasts, Britain’s best-read politics email and Spectator TV (which recently passed 200,000 subscribers). While the UK magazine market fell by two-thirds, The Spectator became the fastest-growing current affairs magazine in Europe – with sales overtaking The Guardian newspaper. He has described his editorship as a “partnership” with James Forsyth, who was The Spectator’s political editor until becoming Rishi Sunak’s political secretary earlier this year. Nelson has edited 600 issues of The Spectator, more than any modern editor. His predecessors as editor include Nigel Lawson and Boris Johnson.
For five years, Nelson combined his work at The Spectator by writing a column for the News of the World, a scabrous tabloid which was the world’s best-selling newspaper until it was closed by the hacking scandal. His interest in free-market economics led him to join the Centre for Policy Studies where he delivered the 2009 Keith Joseph Lecture. One of his innovations at The Spectator has been the data hub (data.spectator.co.uk) and he delivered a 2022 lecture the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers about the revolutionary power of data and the potential for journalists to democratise its use. His work with the Centre for Social Justice led to a 2013 Channel Four documentary on inequality called How The Rich Get Richer. He is currently working on a remake.
Nelson has won numerous awards and is the only UK journalist to have simultaneously held the top industry awards for editing and political writing. His last was in 2021 from the British Magazine Society of Editors which named him Editor of the Year in a current title.
Nelson met Linda, his wife, in 2001 and ever since has divided his time between London and her native Stockholm. They have three children and live in Twickenham, Middlesex.