Conservative Home founder and editor Tim Montgomerie to edit comment pages of The Times

Conservative Home editor Tim Montgomerie is standing down from his position to become editor of the comment pages of The Times next month.

Montgomerie, who launched the website in 2005, made the announcement this afternoon in a blog.

He revealed that the newspaper’s acting editor John Witherow made the job offer but agreed to allow him to continue to contribute to the Tory website.

Montgomerie takes over from Anne Spackman, who is leaving the newspaper.

Spackman has been comment editor since 2008 when she moved from being editor-in-chief of Times Online. She had previously been The Times's managing editor.

Meanwhile, columnist and leader writer Philip Collins – a former speech writer for Tony Blair – is to become chief leader writer of the title. He takes over from Daniel Finkelstein who will remain as an associate editor.

Montgomerie said: 

It is with mixed emotions that I report that Sunday 7th April will be my last day as full-time Editor of ConservativeHome. The following day I start an exciting new chapter in my working life. The Times newspaper’s new editor John Witherow recently asked me to edit The Times’ comment pages and I have decided that it was right to say yes to this exciting new opportunity.

This doesn’t mean that I am ending my involvement with ConHome. John Witherow and Lord Ashcroft have agreed that I can continue to be an adviser to ConHome and continue writing a weekly blog for the site.  What will change is my involvement in the in the day-to-day editing and administration of the site. I shall be keeping my shares in ConservativeHome.

I’m very proud of ConservativeHome. I’m proud of the daily news service that we provide and of the huge range of views that ConservativeHome has promoted. Most of all I’m proud that we’ve challenged the Tory leadership to adopt a ‘full spectrum conservatism’. Throughout ConHome’s life we've argued that conservatism must have a one nation character – reaching out to those born on the wrong side of the tracks and recognising that there’s much more to conservative politics than economics or individualism.

Today’s team – including Paul Goodman, Pete Hoskin, Harry Phibbs and Michelle Clifford – make up the strongest the site has ever had. I have no doubt that they’ll ensure ConHome prospers in the months and, I hope, years ahead. I look forward to continuing to play a role, albeit more of a back seat role, in this.

I would at this important point in ConHome’s development like to specifically thank Lord Ashcroft. As far as I've been concerned he's been a perfect owner – fully involved and fully committed but he has never interfered with my editorial judgments, even when, on occasions, I guess he's disagreed with them. I’m grateful that he’s become my friend and I look forward to taking him to watch Man Utd beat Man City at Old Trafford in a few weeks’ time.

I also want to take the opportunity of thanking those others who have been so material and essential to the creation and ongoing success of ConservativeHome.

Stephan and Rosamund Shakespeare of course provided the initial funding that allowed myself and my brilliant first co-editor, Samuel Coates, to get going. Stephan remains a shareholder in ConservativeHome and will continue to work on the site with Lord Ashcroft and the team.

And, finally, of course thank you to all of the people who’ve read ConHome over the last eight years. Sometimes I know I’ve annoyed you and, guess what, sometimes you’ve annoyed me! Overall, however, I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. It’s been a privilege to have created ConHome and to have been a part of so many great conservations about modern conservatism and its future. I look forward to its continued success.

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