John Junor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Sir John Donald Brown Junor (15 January 1919 – 3 May 1997) was a Scottish journalist and editor-in-chief of the Sunday Express, having previously worked as a columnist there.[1] He then moved to The Mail on Sunday.

Born in Glasgow, he studied at Glasgow University and had a wartime commission in the Fleet Air Arm.[2] At Glasgow University he became president of the University Liberal Club, and later stood unsuccessfully three times for Parliament for the Liberal Party.[3] He was knighted in 1980.[4]

Junor married in 1942, and had two children.[3] The journalist, Penny Junor is his daughter,[2] and the journalist, Sam Leith, his grandson.

His Sunday Express column (which he continued to write in his years as editor-in-chief) was noted for recurrent catchphrases, two of them being "pass the sick-bag, Alice" and "I don't know, but I think we should be told". Junor frequently mentioned the small town of Auchtermuchty in Fife.[3]

Junor could be brutally forthright in his column. He once wrote: "[W]ith compatriots like these [the IRA Brighton bombers] wouldn't you rather admit to being a pig than be Irish?". Following complaints that the comment was racist, Junor was censured by the Press Council in May 1985.[5]

On 24 January 1957, Junor was called to the Bar of the House of Commons to be reprimanded for contempt of Parliament[6] - the last non-politician to be so called.[7] The matter concerned an article about petrol allocation that appeared in the Sunday Express on 16 December 1956. Junor apologised:

Mr Speaker, I wish to express my sincere and unreserved apologies for any imputations or reflection which I may have cast upon the honour and integrity of the Members of this House in the article which I published in the Sunday Express of 16th December. At no time did I intend to be discourteous to Parliament. My only aim was to focus attention on what I considered to be an injustice in the allocation of petrol, namely, the petrol allowances given to political parties in the constituencies. In my judgment these allowances were a proper and, indeed, an inescapable subject of comment in a free Press. That was a view which I held then and hold now, Sir, but I do regret, deeply and sincerely, that the manner in which I expressed myself should have been such as to be a contempt of this House. I have nothing more to say. I now leave myself in the hands of this House.

Works[edit]

  • The Best of JJ (1981)
  • Listening for a midnight train: memoirs (1990)

References[edit]

  • Penny Junor (2002): Home Truths: Life Around My Father, ISBN 0-00-710213-5
  • Graham Lord (2012): Lord's Ladies and Gentlemen: 100 Legends of the 20th Century

Notes[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
?
Deputy Editor of the Evening Standard
1953–1954
Succeeded by
Charles Wintour
Preceded by
Harold Keeble
Editor of the Sunday Express
1954–1986
Succeeded by
Robin Esser