James Kirkup to be new director of the Social Market Foundation

Telegraph executive editor James Kirkup is to become the new director of the Social Market Foundation think tank.

Kirkup will start work at the SMF on 27 March and will replace current director Emran Mian, who is leaving the SMF to return to the civil service as director of strategy and social mobility at the Department for Education.

James Kirkup said:

“I’m thrilled to be joining the SMF at a time when the calm, clear voice is needed as never before.

“British politics is in flux. The ideas of the radical centre need a champion. People – of all parties and none – who reject the strident extremes that too often dominate political debate today need a home.  The SMF will be that champion and offer that home.

“The SMF exists to show how in a fair market everyone wins, that fair competition in the market for goods, services, labour and ideas makes everyone better off.  We will do that by showing how consumers and citizens can be given more information, more power and more control over their lives.

“I’m honoured to follow in the footsteps of Emran Mian and looking forward to working with the first-class team at the SMF.”

The chair of the SMF Mary Ann Sieghart said:

“I’m delighted to appoint such an experienced and widely respected political commentator to lead the SMF.

“James’s independence, intellect and breadth of political contacts will ensure that the SMF continues to work on a cross-party basis to make the case for strong, fair markets and effective public services. That distinctive perspective is needed now more than ever, as the radical centre looks for new ideas to win voters back from the simplistic populist fringes.

“The SMF has earned a reputation for rigorous research into the public policy issues facing the UK, including work on Brexit and the labour market which was recognised at the recent Prospect Think Tank Awards.

“The SMF board would like to thank Emran for his excellent work over the past three years and we wish him all the best in his important new role at the Department for Education.”




James Kirkup was born and raised in Northumberland, where he attended a comprehensive school. The first member of his family to go to university, he studied politics at Edinburgh University and began his career in journalism at The Scotsman in 1997. He later covered European politics and economics for Bloomberg News, moving to Westminster in 2001. He returned to The Scotsman as Political Editor and columnist before joining the Telegraph in 2007. He was Political Editor of the Telegraph and then Executive Editor – Politics, overseeing and writing commentary and analysis on politics, policy and economics.

About the Social Market Foundation:

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is an independent, non-partisan think tank. We believe that fair markets, complemented by open public services, increase prosperity and help people to live well. We conduct research and run events looking at a wide range of economic and social policy areas, focusing on economic prosperity, public services and consumer markets. The SMF is resolutely independent, and the range of backgrounds and opinions among our staff, trustees and advisory board reflects this.

Previous SMF directors include Danny (now Lord) Finkelstein, Phil Collins, Ann Rossiter and Ian Mulheirn.

Interviews/media enquiries:

For further details please contact David Mills, SMF communications director on


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