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Kelvin MacKenzie to join rival Daily Mail

The former Sun editor is to decamp to the enemy lines by joining rival title, the Daily Mail.

The outspoken right-wing columnist Kelvin MacKenzie is defecting, with his weekly column, from the pages of the Sun to rival tabloid title, the Daily Mail.

MacKenzie has been a columnist for the Sun since 2005, when he was signed as a replacement for Littlejohn, who returned to the Mail after having been at the Sun for seven years.

He served as editor to the tabloid title from 1981 to 1994, steering the paper through a golden era in which it became Britain's best selling newspaper. It was MacKenzie who cemented the Sun's image as a right-wing tabloid -- boosting its circulation and heightening its profile as a notorious basher of left-wing politicians and policies.

MacKenzie also presided over some of the biggest controversies in the Sun's history, including the Freddie Starr fiasco and the paper's controversial coverage of the Falklands War, accused of glorifying slaughter.

In 1989, he published a notorious front-page splash making false allegations about the behaviour of Liverpool FC fans at the Hillsborough stadium disaster. Both he and the Sun subsequently apologised.

In an interview with the Guardian, MacKenzie said: "I owe everything to the Sun. The Sun owes me nothing. I will miss the readers -- I felt, probably conceitedly, that I had an umbilical cord to their issues and their thought processes. But all good things come to an end and I very much look forward to taking my rather disgraceful column to the Daily Mail."

He has not mentioned how much he is being paid by the Mail to switch sides.

Emanuelle Degli Esposti is the editor and founder of The Arab Review, an online journal covering arts and culture in the Arab world. She also works as a freelance journalist specialising in the politics of the Middle East.