Announcing that News International had made it clear they wanted him to leave, Harding is stepping down as editor of The Times. Reaction has been vociferously in favour of the man who has edited the great English newspaper for five years. He was liked by the journalists that worked for him, and received a round of applause in support when he announced his resignation at the newspapers headquarters. On Twitter the most extreme view was voiced by Giles Coren who believes that The Times has made a mistake.
Other journalists were similarly disappointed, though they expressed their feelings less flamboyantly. Reasons for the move to remove Harding will no doubt be examined in depth in days to come, but it is hard to look past the fall in circulation figures for The Time since he took over. All broadsheets have lost readers, but according to figures published online The Times lost around 40% of its circulation over the last five years.
Harding’s future is unclear. He has worked for other News International papers before and may return to one of those. It depends how acrimonious his departure was. He is supposed to be appearing on Newsnight later this week. It will be interesting to see if he pulls out of the BBC’s flagship news programme.