The owner of GB News and father of the former Mumford & Sons banjo player has come under fire for recent activity on social media


Source: Reuters

An influential Christian hedge fund manager who sits on the board of HTB’s Church Revitalisation Trust has been accused of supporting extremists on social media by campaigners who question his suitability for British media ownership.

But his supporters say he is the target of a “smear campaign” due to his key role in the political culture wars and his possible bid for prestigious titles The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.

Sir Paul Marshall, who part-owns TV channel GB News and the online magazine Unherd, has been accused by Hope not Hate, a left-wing lobbying group, of endorsing “extreme Islamophobic and anti-migrant activists” on social media, suggesting “he holds a deeply disturbing view of modern Britain.”

It cited posts that Sir Paul liked and reposted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that it claims “border on calls to violence,” such as: “A matter of time before civil war starts in Europe. The native European population is losing patience with the fake refugee invaders”.

Another liked post read, “There has never been a country that has remained peaceful with a sizeable Islamic presence…Once the Muslims get to 15-20% of the population the current cold civil war will turn hot.”

Only one post cited had words written by the businessman’s personal account: a comment on a tweet about a church in Paris hosting the Islamic adhan or call to prayer: “The Christian church (all denominations) also has its useful idiots” the post said. The cited X handle @areopagus123 is anonymous, but widely known to be the businessman’s own.


In response, a spokesperson for Sir Paul said that the businessman: “posts on a wide variety of subjects and those cited represent a small and unrepresentative sample of over 5000 posts.

“As most X/Twitter users know, it can be a fountain of ideas, but some of it is of uncertain quality and all his posts have now been deleted to avoid any further misunderstanding.”

The root is my faith. I am a committed Church of England Christian. I believe we are all made in God’s image

Sir Paul has been a long-term donor to charities that support immigrant communities in the UK. “Like many people, he has some concerns about social cohesion, but he has supported the education of multicultural and multi-faith communities in our inner cities for the past 20 years, as well as giving generously to Uigyhar, Syrian and Afghan refugee charities,” a friend of the businessman told Premier Christianity.

“He is very repentant and has apologised to his friends and colleagues for the false impression his careless social media activity gave.”

Mixed motivations

A Spectator article described the campaign group’s report as “rather pathetic”. Referring to the fear of violence from Islamic extremists that has affected Parliament recently, author Laurie Wastell added: “You would think that a group called ‘Hope not Hate’ would have a lot of important things to talk about at the moment”. The magazine’s editor, Fraser Nelson, called the Hope not Hate report a “smear campaign” in a post on X.

“You smear someone by carefully selecting what is ‘liked’ and presenting it as representative,” he wrote. “Also people use the ‘like’ feature not to signal approval but to bookmark - which you can do to stuff you hate. So the word ‘like’ can be used to misrepresent a target’s views.”

Sir Paul has been a long-term donor to charities that support immigrant communities in the UK

Nelson’s vote of confidence is significant, because his publication and the Telegraph newspapers are currently up for sale. Sir Paul is reportedly a potential bidder, competing with a group that controversially includes a senior figure in the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City Football Club.

Bidding wars for high profile assets often lead to acrimonious publicity battles, which could explain the recent interest of Hope not Hate, which made its stance clear: “With ownership of Unherd, GB News, The Telegraph and The Spectator, Marshall would instantly join the ranks of the UK’s most powerful media moguls, and would also have considerable influence over the direction of right-wing thought in the UK – and if his social media activity is anything to go by, that is a prospect that should worry us all.”

Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of The Guardian, agreed with the charity, writing in Prospect magazine: “Paul Marshall’s hateful ‘likes’ make him unfit to be a media mogul.”

Philanthropy and faith

Sir Paul has not always been seen as right wing. He is a former Liberal Democrat donor and activist, only switching allegiance to the Tories during Brexit.

He is also a philanthropist, donating large sums from his estimated personal fortune of £800m (earned from the hedge fund business, Marshall Wace, that he co-founded) to various kinds of educational and charitable work. These include the Ark network of schools and a scheme to send a King James Version Bible to every state school in the country.

In 2009, he told the Evening Standard that religion motivates his giving. “The root is my faith,” he told the newspaper. “I am a committed Church of England Christian. I believe we are all made in God’s image, that we all have gifts and that education is the key to realising our potential.”

His son, Winston Marshall, formerly a member of chart-topping Mumford & Sons, has also publicly discussed his faith. Winston left the band after controversy surrounding his endorsement of Unmasked, Andy Ngo’s book criticising the anti-fascist protest movement, antifa.

These political stances put the Marshalls firmly on one side of the current culture war. Sir Paul often advocates for what was traditionally seen as a liberal position. In a speech at last November’s Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference, he argued that free market capitalism “is the greatest instrument of poverty relief that the world has ever seen.” 

The government is currently considering whether an Emirati bid for the Telegraph and Spectator should be allowed. If refused, the war of words is likely to intensify.