Iain Campbell Dale (born 15 July 1962 in Cambridge) is best known for his political blog Iain Dale’s Diary (founded in 2002) and for his frequent appearances on UK news channels as a political commentator. Since September 2010, he has hosted a regular show on London’s LBC 97.3 radio station, and he currently presents the LBC Drivetime show each weekday between 4 and 8pm.
He is also a publisher, broadcaster and former Conservative Party politician. He is Managing Director of Biteback Publishing and was the founder of Total Politics Magazine, which he sold to Dod’s in December 2012.
Dale was educated at Ashdon County Primary School, Saffron Walden County High School, and obtained a 2(i) BA Honours degree in German, Linguistics, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of East Anglia in 1985. Prior to going to university he spent his gap year as a nursing assistant at the Werner Wicker Klinik in West Germany. During his degree course he spent a year teaching English at the Gymnasium Besigheim.
He was Research Assistant to the Conservative MP Patrick Thompson, 1985–87, Public Affairs Manager for the British Ports Federation 1987–89, Financial Journalist with Lloyd’s List 1989–90, and then Deputy Managing Director of The Waterfront Partnership & Managing Director of The Waterfront Conference Company 1990–96.
In 1997, he opened Politico’s Bookstore and Coffee House in Westminster, selling a mix of political books, memorabilia and novelty items. The shop spawned sister publishing and web design businesses using the Politico’s brand. He founded Politico’s Publishing in 1998, and sold it in 2003 to Methuen Publishing. In 2004, Dale announced the closure of the walk-in book shop and relocated the business to Kent as a mail-order operation. Later that year the Westminster premises re-opened as the Westminster Bookshop under the ownership of Methuen. In 2006, Dale sold the Politico’s Bookstore business to Harriman House. In 2012 Dale relaunched Politico’s online as part of the Biteback Publishing business.
Dale’s blog, entitled Iain Dale’s Diary, had been one of the most widely-read political blogs in the UK. It was nominated by The Guardian for the Political Blog of the Year Award in 2005. On December 14, 2010, Dale announced that he was quitting both blogging at Iain Dale’s Diary and party politics. He launched Dale & Co, a multi-authored blog platform in July 2011 but closed it in early December 2012, when he relaunched Iain Dale’s Diary. He continues to author a blog entitled West Ham Till I Die where he writes on West Ham United.
Dale’s fortnightly comment column for The Daily Telegraph, which he began writing in February 2007, was discontinued in January 2009. He has also written for The Guardian, The Independent, GQ Magazine, The Spectator and the New Statesman and has made frequent appearances on TV news and political shows, including Any Questions? He writes a fortnightly column for the Eastern Daily Press, and is a regular presenter of Radio 4’s What the Papers Say.
He formerly presented Planet Politics on Oneword Radio, and occasionally appeared on Sunday Service on Radio 5 Live. He was also chief presenter on the failed internet TV station 18 Doughty Street.
Dale was used as a stand in presenter for London radio station LBC 97.3 during the first nine months of 2010 after doing a couple of test programs with other journalists. He co-presented LBC’s six hour election night programme on 7 May 2010, with Gaby Hinsliff. In May and June 2010 he presented the Petrie Hosken, Clive Bull, James Max and Jeni Barnett phone in shows, and on 22 June 2010 fronted LBC’s budget coverage. In late July 2010 Dale started a six week stint on LBC covering for Petrie Hosken and Andrew Pierce, which later turned into a regular show, and has been the weekly evening presenter ever since (7pm to 10pm). In April 2012 he started presenting LBC’s Sunday morning politics show. In March 2013 he was promoted to the Drivetime slot between 4 and 8pm weekdays.
In May 2005, Dale stood in the general election as Conservative candidate for Norfolk North, losing to the Liberal Democrat incumbent, Norman Lamb; Lamb was elected with a 10,000 plus majority as opposed to 483 at the previous election, which he fought against David Prior. Subsequently Dale acted as chief of staff to the losing leadership candidate David Davis in the run-up to the 2005 Conservative Party leadership campaign. In August 2006, it was confirmed that he had been added to the Conservative ‘Priority List’ of candidates to fight the next general election. However his ambitions were further frustrated in 2007 when he applied for the Conservative candidacy for the safe seat Maidstone and The Weald, but failed to get past the first interview stage.
In October 2009 he ran for selection for the Conservative safe seat of Bracknell in order to succeed Andrew MacKay, who stepped down at the 2010 general election. Dale came third in the run off ballot behind Rory Stewart and the eventual winner Dr Philip Lee.
On 17 June 2010 Dale announced on his blog that he was resigning from the Conservative Party candidates list and would not be standing at any forthcoming parliamentary election.
Iain has edited, written or compiled more than 30 books:
- Unofficial Book of Political Lists, Robson Books, 1997
- As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, Robson Books, 1997
- The Blair Necessities, Robson Books, 1998
- Bill Clinton Joke Book, Robson Books, 1998
- Tony Blair New Labour Joke Book, Robson Books, 1998
- Dictionary of Conservative Quotations, Politico's Publishing, 1999
- Wit & Wisdom of Tony Banks, Robson Books, 1999
- Labour Party General Election Manifestos 1900–97, Routledge 1999
- Liberal Party General Election Manifestos 1900–97, Routledge, 1999
- Conservative Party General Election Manifestos 1900–1997, Routledge, 1999
- Memories of Maggie, Politico's Publishing, 2000
- Tony Blair New New Labour Joke Book (2nd ed), Robson Books, 2000
- Directory of Political Lobbying, Politico's Publishing, 2001
- Directory of Political Websites, Politico's Publishing, 2001
- Directory of Think Tank Publications, Politico's Publishing, 2001
- Memories of the Falklands, Politico's Publishing, 2002
- Prime Minister Portillo & Other Things That Never Happened, Politico's Publishing, 2003
- Times Guides to the House of Commons 1906–10, Politico's Publishing, 2003
- Times Guides to the House of Commons 1929–35, Politico's Publishing, 2003
- Directory of Political Lobbying, Politico's Publishing, 2003
- Politico's Book of the Dead, Politico's Publishing, 2003
- Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute in Words & Pictures, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005
- Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze, Politico's Media, 2006
- Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze, Harriman House, 2007
- 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic & Erudite Things Ever Said About Politics, Harriman House, 2007
- Guide to Political Blogging in the UK, Harriman House, 2007
- Little Book of Boris, Harriman House, 2007
- Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2008–9, Total Politics, 2008
- Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2009–10, Biteback Publishing, 2009
- Total Politics Guide to the General Election, Biteback Publishing, 2009
- Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2010–11, Biteback Publishing, 2010
- Margaret Thatcher: In Her Own Words, Biteback Publishing, 2010
- Talking Politics: Political Conversations With Iain Dale, Biteback Publishing, 2010
- West Ham United: When Football Was Football, Haynes Publishing, 2011
- Prime Minister Boris and Other Things That Never Happened, Biteback Publishing, 2011
- The Bigger Book of Boris, Biteback Publishing 2011
- Memories of the Falklands, Biteback Publishing (March 2012)
- Norwich City: When Football Was Football, Haynes Publishing (April 2012)
- The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, Biteback Publishing (August 2012)
- The Blogfather: The Best of Iain Dale's Diary, Biteback Publishing (December 2012)
- Memories of Margaret Thatcher: A portrait by those who knew her best, Biteback Publishing, May 2013
- Dictionary of Conservative Quotations, Biteback Publishing, August 2013
- Great Parliamentary Speeches, Biteback Publishing, September 2013