John Rentoul

John Rentoul (born 1958) is a British journalist. He is the chief political commentator for The Independent. In 2011, he was described as a "Labour-leaning journalist".[1]

John Rentoul
Speaking in 2009 at QMUL
EducationKing's College, Cambridge

Early life

Rentoul was born in India, where his father was a minister of the Church of South India. Educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School,[2] he studied History and English at King's College, Cambridge, and worked on an oil rig before becoming a journalist on Accountancy Age.[3] He is related to Sir Gervais Rentoul, the Conservative MP who was the founding chairman of the 1922 Committee.[3]

Career as political journalist

Rentoul was a journalist on the New Statesman between January 1983 and May 1988, latterly as Deputy Editor, and a political reporter for the BBC's On the Record between 1988 and 1995. He became a political correspondent of The Independent in 1995 and that newspaper's chief leader writer from January 1997, before becoming chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday in 2004.[4][5] His biography of Tony Blair has passed through several editions. He was visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London,[6] until 2015, and is now visiting professor at King's College, London.

Fellow journalist Martin Bright wrote in 2009 that Rentoul "remains one of the most incisive political columnists writing today, even though he has lost his access to the highest levels of power".[7]

In 2011, Total Politics said that Rentoul "is probably the most high-profile defender of Tony Blair's record in the British media, in a year when the mere mention of the former PM's name provoked boos at the Labour Party conference. His column in The Independent on Sunday has become one of the last bastions of pure, unadulterated Blairism".[8][4]

In November 2015, Rentoul issued a public apology for tweeting that "Jeremy Corbyn might say that France had brought the Paris attacks on itself". The journalist acknowledged it was a "stupid and offensive" thing to say.[9]

Rentoul was critical of Ed Miliband's leadership of the Labour Party,[1][10][11] and voted for Boris Johnson in the 2008 and 2012 London Mayoral elections.[12]


  1. "John Rentoul, Chuka Ummuna and Lord Falconer on Ed Miliband". BBC News. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. The Guardian, 25 June 1980, p. 7.
  3. "The normblog profile 373: John Rentoul (interview)". nornblog. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  4. Mutch, Nick (16 June 2014). "Interview: John Rentoul". Cherwell. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  5. "John Rentoul". The Independent. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  6. "Leading journalists appointed as visiting professors".
  7. Bright, Martin (11 October 2009). "John Rentoul Calls it Right on Brown and Cameron". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 12 October 2009.
  8. "Top 100 political journalists 2011". Total Politics. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014.
  9. "An apology from John Rentoul". The Independent. 14 November 2015.
  10. "John Rentoul: Ed Miliband 'has to go' for Labour to win". BBC News. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  11. John Rentoul (3 May 2015). "General Election 2015: Win or lose, Ed Miliband is not ready to govern". The Independent. Retrieved 20 July 2015. I stand by my view of five years ago that he was the wrong choice, and will take his defeat as a vindication of the eternal New Labour verities: elections are won on the centre ground; a party of government must understand wealth creation; voters are suspicious of tax, spend and borrow.
  12. Rentoul, John (28 January 2018). "Boris Johnson and the euro brick wall".