The GB News chairman said it would not “be another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset” when he launched it in June. Shortly after, the former BBC presenter said he was stepping back for a “few weeks” but would be back “before summer is out”.
That has yet to materialise, and sources within the right-leaning channel say the veteran broadcaster will never return.
A GB News source told the Telegraph: “People in Paddington (where the channel is based) felt left in the lurch by (Andrew Neil’s) sudden departure.
“We couldn’t understand why he was going so soon after the launch.
“We did feel let down.
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Since stepping back, Mr Neil has been quick to brush aside concerns.
The former Sunday Times editor said: “I’m simply taking a break to replenish my batteries after the rigours of launch.
“I’ll be back before the summer is out brimming with ideas for the channel and my show.”
Since its launch GB News has been beset with technical issues, an advertising backlash and plunging audience.
A spokesman for Mr Neil said: “It is his intention to return to GB News in September.”
A GB News spokeswoman says: “As previously announced, we look forward to Andrew Neil’s return from holiday in September to host his 8pm show.
“We are enormously proud of our progress in only eight weeks.
“As a start-up, we continue to move at lightning speed, learning, refining and growing constantly.
“We’re committed to serving our audience by delivering the stories and issues that matter to them.”