Chris Moncrieff

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Christopher Wighton Moncrieff CBE, (born 9 September 1931) is a British journalist. He was the political editor of the Press Association from 1980 to 1994.

Early life[edit]

Moncrieff was born in Derby in 1931.


Moncrieff was educated at the Moravian Girls' School,[1] an independent school in the village of Ockbrook, near his home in Chaddesden in Derbyshire. He says that his parents decided to send him there as they didn't believe the local council school was good enough, and that although there were other boys at the school, he nevertheless found it "very embarrassing" to have attended it.[1] He went on to finish his education at Ellesmere College, Shropshire.

Life and career[edit]

Moncrieff joined the agency's political staff in the Houses of Parliament in 1962 and became a lobby correspondent in 1973. Once a legendary drinker, he has been teetotal for the past 30 years.[2] The Rev Ian Paisley, who used to insist on smelling the breath of journalists he was about to be interviewed by, once famously said to him "Moncrieff, is that the devil's buttermilk I smell on your breath?" [3] Margaret Thatcher, a great admirer, made him a CBE in the New Year Honours in 1990. He officially retired in 1994, but continues to write political commentary for the Press Association and regularly appears on political programmes on radio and television.

In November 2010 he was awarded a Diamond Jubilee Award for Political Journalism by the UK Political Studies Association on the occasion of the PSA's 60th Anniversary.[4] Presenting the award, the Financial Times journalist Sue Cameron told an anecdote of spying Moncrieff in the lobby at Westminster: "Looking for a story Chris?" she enquired. "No" came the reply "I've got the story. I'm just looking for somebody to say it".[5]

Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary, said of Moncrieff "He is the nearest approach to the 24 hour journalist I have ever known".[6] Sir Nicholas Winterton MP said: "the best journalist in this place is the oldest journalist, Chris Moncrieff. You tell him something; he reports it; he does not dress it up; he actually reports."[7]

The refurbished press gallery bar at the House of Commons has been renamed Moncrieff's in his honour.

Moncrieff was interviewed by National Life Stories (C467/20) in 2016 for the 'Oral History of the British Press' collection held by the British Library.[8]

Family life[edit]

He was married to Maggie (deceased 2016). He has four children, Joanna, Sarah, Kate and Angus, and three grandchildren, Nicole, Christopher and Ursula.


  • Living On a Deadline, Chris Moncrieff, Virgin Books Ltd 2001. ISBN 1-85227-917-6
  • Wine, Women and Westminster, Chris Moncrieff, JR Books 2008. ISBN 978-1-906217-80-8