Sale of Tribune to Labour party activist is completed

Left-wing weekly magazine Tribune has confirmed the identity of its new owner - a Labour candidate in the forthcoming European elections who has bought the title for £1.

Press Gazette revealed in December that the magazine's trade union owners had agreed to the sale of a 51 per cent stake to a then-anonymous Labour party activist.

He has now been named as Kevin McGrath, a 45-year-old former chartered surveyor who stood for the North East Hampshire seat in the 2005 European Parliament election.

After several months of discussions about the terms of the sale, he has now agreed to buy the company outright, and has owned a full 100 per cent share since last Friday.

Tribune was put up for sale in October by the consortium of six trade unions that rescued the title from closure in 2004.

For the past four years, the 71-year-old political magazine has been jointly owned by Unison, the Communication Workers Union, Community, Aslef, T&G and Amicus.

McGrath - a former chairman of Queen's Park Rangers football club - has pledged to invest in improving the magazine's circulation and developing its editorial content.

He said he wanted Tribune to have a greater focus on European politics while remaining true to its British left-wing roots.

"It is my intention to keep Tribune as a left-of-centre publication, retaining its roots in the labour movement but broadening the readership to include non-union and Labour Party members who sympathise or vote with the Labour cause," he said.

"Tribune is poised to benefit from a cohesive, properly resourced, and focused marketing strategy. I see Tribune going forward as a publication for new ideas and debate.

"The unions deserve huge credit and recognition for its critical role in keeping Tribune alive during their tenure and enabling the magazine to be launched into a new and exciting phase in its prestigious history."

McGrath said Tribune will continue to be produced from offices at the Aslef headquarters in north London.

All staff, including editor Chris McLaughlin, will continue to work for the title.

In a statement, McLaughlin said: "After more than 70 years as a voice for independent social democratic thinking, Tribune's future has once again been secured.

"This is a tremendously exciting step forward which could not have happened without the continued support and vision of the unions."

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