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Simon Jenkins

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Simon Jenkins
Jenkins in 2012
Simon David Jenkins

(1943-06-10) 10 June 1943 (age 81)
Birmingham, England
EducationMill Hill School
Alma materSt John's College, Oxford
Occupation(s)Journalist, author
(m. 1978; div. 2009)
Hannah Kaye
(m. 2014)
AwardsKnight Bachelor

Sir Simon David Jenkins FSA FRSL FLSW (born 10 June 1943) is a British author, a newspaper columnist and editor. He was editor of the Evening Standard from 1976 to 1978 and of The Times from 1990 to 1992.

Jenkins chaired the National Trust from 2008 to 2014. He currently writes columns for The Guardian.

Early life


Jenkins was born (1943-06-10)10 June 1943, in Birmingham, England.[1] His father, Daniel Thomas Jenkins, was a Welsh professor of divinity at Princeton University and a Minister in the Congregational and then United Reformed Church.[2] He was educated at Mill Hill School and St John's College, Oxford, where he earned a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[1]





After graduating from the University of Oxford, Jenkins initially worked at Country Life magazine, before joining the Times Educational Supplement.[3] He was then features editor and columnist on the Evening Standard before editing the Insight pages of The Sunday Times.[4][5] From 1976 to 1978 he was editor of the Evening Standard, before becoming political editor of The Economist from 1979 to 1986.[6] He edited The Times from 1990 to 1992,[7] and since then has been a columnist for The Times and The Guardian.[5][8] In 1998 he received the What the Papers Say Journalist of the Year award.[4]

In January 2005, he announced he was ending his 15-year association with The Times to write a book, before joining The Guardian as a columnist.[4] He retained a column at The Sunday Times and was a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.[9] He gave up both on becoming chairman of the National Trust in 2008, when he also resumed an occasional column for the Evening Standard.[10]



In April 2009, The Guardian withdrew one of Jenkins' articles from its website after African National Congress leader and South African president-elect Jacob Zuma sued the paper for defamation.[11] The Guardian issued an apology,[12][13] and settled the libel case for an undisclosed sum.[14][15]

In February 2010, Jenkins argued in a Guardian article that British control over the Falkland Islands was an "expensive legacy of empire" and should be handed over to the Argentinian government.[16] He argued that they could be leased back under the supervision of the United Nations and that the 2,500 or so Falkland Islanders should not have "an unqualified veto on British government policy".[16]

In a piece in The Guardian in June 2010 he wrote that the government should "cut [defence], all £45 billion of it. ... With the end of the Cold War in the 1990s that threat [of global communism] vanished."[17] In August 2016 he wrote in The Guardian in support of NATO membership, saying: "It is a real deterrent, and its plausibility rests on the assurance of collective response".[18]

Jenkins voted for the UK to Remain within the European Union in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, arguing in The Guardian that leaving would provide Germany with dominance over the remainder of the union: "It would leave Germany effectively alone at the head of Europe, alternately hesitant and bullying".[19]

Soon after Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, Jenkins wrote that his aides were "young, sneakered, tieless image-makers, and fiercely loyal to him." They were "special advisers, thinktanks and lobby groups isolated from the world outside."[20]

Jenkins has consistently argued against Western military intervention and support in the conflict in Ukraine. Before the outbreak of full invasion in January 2022, amid heightened tensions, Jenkins wrote a pair of columns arguing that the United Kingdom should stay out of the "border dispute", one he argues is a direct result of 'NATO expansionism'.[21][22] In 2023, he wrote a column discouraging the supplying of jets as military aid.[23] In early 2024, he wrote that NATO was growing reckless in the conflict, as the war reached a "predictable stalemate".[24] Jenkins has been criticized for his opinions on Ukraine by many journalists and commentators, examples including Mark Laity [25] and Oz Katerji[26].

In May 2024, following the local elections, he wrote calling metro mayors a "farce of local democracy" advocating their abolition.[27]



Jenkins has written several books on the politics, history and architecture of England, including England's Thousand Best Churches[28] and England's Thousand Best Houses.[5] In his 2011 book A Short History of England, he argued that the British Empire "was a remarkable institution that dismantled itself in good order".[29]

In 2022, Jenkins' book, The Celts: A Sceptical History, stoked some controversy on account of Jenkins incredulous view of the Celts as a distinct cultural entity. The release of the work was met with a number of hostile reviews from specialists in Celtic studies, with these critics of the book alleging factual errors in the work as well as of the misrepresentation of sources.[30][31][32]

Public appointments


Jenkins served on the boards of British Rail 1979–1990[6] and London Transport 1984–1986.[6] He was a member of the Millennium Commission from February 1994 to December 2000,[33] and has also sat on the board of trustees of The Architecture Foundation.[34] From 1985 to 1990, he was deputy chairman of English Heritage.[5]

In July 2008, it was announced that he had been chosen as the new chairman of the National Trust; he took over the three-year post from William Proby in November of that year.[35] He remained in the post until November 2014.[36]

Personal life and honours

Insignia of Knight Bachelor

Jenkins married the American actress Gayle Hunnicutt in 1978;[37] the couple had one son.[38] They separated in 2008[37] and divorced in 2009.[39] He married Hannah Kaye, events producer at Intelligence Squared, in 2014.[40]

Jenkins was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to journalism in the 2004 New Year Honours.[41]

In 2022, Jenkins was elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.[42]

Selected works

  • Simon Jenkins (1969) Education and Labour's Axe, Bow Publications, ISBN 0-900182-79-2
  • Simon Jenkins (1971) Here to Live: Study of Race Relations in an English Town, Runnymede Trust, ISBN 0-902397-12-5
  • Simon Jenkins (1975) Landlords to London: Story of a Capital and Its Growth, Constable, ISBN 0-09-460150-X
  • Simon Jenkins (1979) Newspapers: The Power and the Money, Faber, ISBN 0-571-11468-7
  • Simon Jenkins (1981) Newspapers Through the Looking-glass, Manchester Statistical Society, ISBN 0-85336-058-8
  • Sir Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins (1984) Battle for the Falklands, M Joseph, ISBN 0-7181-2578-9
  • Simon Jenkins and Anne Sloman (1985) With Respect, Ambassador: Enquiry into the Foreign Office, BBC, ISBN 0-563-20329-3
  • Simon Jenkins (1986) The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the Twentieth Century, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-14627-9
  • Simon Jenkins and Robert Ilson (1992) "The Times" English Style and Usage Guide, Times Books, ISBN 0-7230-0396-3
  • Simon Jenkins (1993) The Selling of Mary Davies and Other Writings, John Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5298-2
  • Simon Jenkins (1994) Against the Grain, John Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5570-1
  • Simon Jenkins (1995) Accountable to None: Tory Nationalization of Britain, Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 0-241-13591-5
  • Simon Jenkins (1999) England's Thousand Best Churches, Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9281-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2003) England's Thousand Best Houses, Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9596-3
  • Simon Jenkins (2006) Thatcher & Sons – A Revolution in Three Acts, Penguin, ISBN 978-0-7139-9595-4
  • Simon Jenkins (2008) Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles, Allen Lane, ISBN 978-0-713-99893-1
  • Simon Jenkins (2011) A Short History of England, Profile Books, ISBN 978-1-84668-461-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2013) England's Hundred Best Views, Profile Books, ISBN 978-1-781250-96-9
  • Simon Jenkins (2016), England's Cathedrals, Little Brown, ISBN 978-1-408706-45-9
  • Simon Jenkins (2017) Britain's Hundred Best Railway Stations, Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-241978-98-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2018) A Short History of Europe: From Pericles to Putin, Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-241-35252-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2022) Cathedrals: Masterpieces of Architecture, Feats of Engineering, Icons of Faith, Rizzoli, ISBN 978-0847871407
  • Simon Jenkins (2022) The Celts: A Sceptical History, Profile Books, ISBN 978-1800810662


  1. ^ a b "'JENKINS, (Sir) Simon David', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011".(subscription required)
  2. ^ Kaye, Elaine. "Jenkins, Daniel Thomas in OxfordDNB". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Simon Jenkins". The Guardian. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Timms, Dominic (27 January 2005). "Times columnist Simon Jenkins to join the Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d McSmith, Andy (5 July 2008). "Sir Simon Jenkins: History Man". The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "Simon Jenkins". The Cornwall Lecture. University of Exeter. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ "The Princess and the Press". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Sir Simon Jenkins". Landmark Trust. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  9. ^ Jenkins, Simon (9 September 2010). "Simon Jenkins @ The Huffington Post". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  10. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (19 January 2009). "Simon Jenkins column returns to Evening Standard". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Zuma sues London's Guardian". Mail & Guardian. 14 April 2009. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009.
  12. ^ Bold, Ben (22 April 2009). "Guardian forced to apologise to Jacob Zuma". Campaign. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Corrections and clarifications: Jacob Zuma". The Guardian. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  14. ^ "South Africa's Zuma accepts libel damages from UK paper". Reuters. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  15. ^ Maughan, Karyn (30 July 2009). "Zuma wins damages from UK newspaper". Independent Online. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  16. ^ a b Jenkins, Simon (25 February 2010). "The Falklands can no longer remain as Britain's expensive nuisance". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  17. ^ Jenkins, Simon (8 June 2010). "My once-in-a-generation cut? The armed forces. All of them". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  18. ^ Jenkins, Simon (19 August 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn's dismissal of Nato is a step too far". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  19. ^ Jenkins, Simon (16 June 2016). "I fear German dominance. That's why I'm for remaining in the EU". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  20. ^ Jenkins, Simon (7 November 2022). "Rishi Sunak has surrounded himself with yes-men. What he really needs is a Willie". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2024.
  21. ^ Jenkins, Simon (24 January 2022). "A measure of autonomy in eastern Ukraine is the only way out of this crisis". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 July 2024.
  22. ^ Jenkins, Simon (20 January 2022). "Britain should stay well out of Russia's border dispute with Ukraine". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 July 2024.
  23. ^ Jenkins, Simon (9 February 2023). "Zelenskiy wants jets. The west should think very carefully before giving them to him". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 July 2024.
  24. ^ Jenkins, Simon (5 March 2024). "Nato is growing reckless over Ukraine – and Russia's German military leak proves it". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 July 2024.
  25. ^ "Peace in Ukraine has to be fought for". The Guardian. 14 March 2024. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 July 2024.
  26. ^ Katerji, Oz. "Oz Katerji on X".
  27. ^ Jenkins, Simon (6 May 2024). "England's metro mayors make a farce of local democracy. They must be scrapped". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  28. ^ Jenkins, Simon (2003) "England's Thousand Best Churches", Manchester Memoirs; vol. 140 (2001–02), pp. 10–20 (part of a lecture he gave to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, 29 October 2001)
  29. ^ Kamm, Oliver (3 September 2011). "Simon Jenkins's potted history of England". The Times.
  30. ^ Rodway, Simon (1 July 2022). "Review: The Celts, A Sceptical History, by Simon Jenkins". Nation.Cymru.
  31. ^ Mabbot, Alastair (8 July 2022). "Review: The Celts, A Sceptical History, by Simon Jenkins. Book Review". The Herald.
  32. ^ Fresne, Patrick (28 December 2022). "Book Review: The Celts, A Sceptical History, by Simon Jenkins". The Irish Story.
  33. ^ "Millennium Commissioners". Millennium Commission. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  34. ^ "All Change At Foundation". Architects' Journal. 21 September 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  35. ^ Kennedy, Maev (3 July 2008). "Writer Simon Jenkins to chair National Trust". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  36. ^ Stephens, Simon (27 June 2014). "National Trust appoints new chairman". Museums Association. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  37. ^ a b Eden, Richard (26 July 2008). "Sir Simon Jenkins's wife files for divorce". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  38. ^ Conrad, Peter (17 December 2000). "The ultimate insider". The Observer. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  39. ^ Grice, Elizabeth (5 February 2009). "Recession blues? Come to see our snowdrops". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  40. ^ "Wedding bells for a Girl with Pearls". Evening Standard. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  41. ^ "No. 57155". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 31 December 2003. pp. 1–28.
  42. ^ Wales, The Learned Society of. "Simon Jenkins". The Learned Society of Wales. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
Media offices
Preceded by Deputy Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Richard Bourne
Preceded by Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Preceded by Editor of The Times
Succeeded by