I am a proud Gloucester girl and attended two utterly fantastic grammar schools, before getting a double first in Literature and Philosophy from the University of Durham.
After graduating I trained in newsrooms in Ghana, China, and India to build up a portfolio to get into the super-competitive and widely respected School of Journalism in Cardiff, all while working for the NHS by day and in a nightclub by night to pay for the next expedition.
I know what it means to work hard and be self-sufficient, and to make your opportunities. As a result I’m a staunch advocate of social mobility. I despise the lazy nepotism that dominates so much of the media, where connections mean more than merit. When I look around the GB News newsroom I see other self-starters from all backgrounds, rather than a list of people who have been gifted opportunities because they come from an established dynasty.
I went on to work for ITV Wales before returning to my other spiritual home, the North East, with ITV Tyne Tees before finally landed at the BBC.
In 2009, I left journalism and entered politics, back when Eurosceptics were labelled fruitcakes and loonies. I was determined to see an independent United Kingdom and to put my all into campaigning for Brexit – before the word even existed – for 13 years.
I went on to be a consultant in elections abroad before returning home to be elected as a Brexit Party MEP.
My final day in Brussels on January 31 2020 came just before the global pandemic hit. Like many of us, I ended up having an unusual 2020 and hunkered down in Gloucester scribbling columns and making guest appearances on various media channels.
When I learnt about GB News, I involved myself with it right from the very beginning. I am now ‘home’, and not planning on going anywhere!
More from Alex Phillips:
What are you most proud of yourself for?
Having the courage of my convictions to leave journalism and work 100-hour weeks campaigning for Brexit. The abuse I suffered for over a decade, being called the worst names under the sun and being ostracised from polite society, was worth it, as we got there in the end.
I took a risk to stand up for what I believed in, something few politicians and people in public life are prepared to do, and for that I am immensely proud.
Why is Gloucester important to you? What makes it special?
The wonderful folk of Gloucester are without doubt the most generous of spirit, down to earth, witty and eccentric Brits of all. We have the best rugby supporters in the world, the infamous Cheese Roll, astounding history from Roman times through to the Normans and the Tudors, the most gorgeous cathedral and some of the best pubs with the scrumpiest ciders in the land - many of which I have worked in! But it's the people in all their authenticity and lack of pretence that I love the most.
Why is debate and balanced argument important to you?
Having worked in politics I have often been exasperated by the dishonesty which regularly crept into debate. Talking to someone you disagree with in a constructive manner is an enlightening and rewarding experience, but holding on to your own viewpoint without challenging yourself denies you an opportunity to learn. I read every newspaper website every morning and have never banished a single Remainer from my life. I wish I could say that the reverse was true! I genuinely don’t consider myself allied to any party or political position, but a complex mess of personal beliefs, life lessons and social responsibilities which I bring to the table.
What makes you, you?
Every country I’ve lived in; every friend I’ve hugged; my wonderful family who shaped me, and an increasingly eclectic spread of hobbies, interests and philosophies which I continue to expand. I definitely have a very diverse and eccentric hinterland comprising of cryptic crosswords, a love of cooking, fast cars, fighter jets and Formula 1, Hindu philosophy, painting, poetry and hiking volcanoes.
The best and worst advice you’ve ever been given?
My wonderful brother Jonathan once said something I've never forgotten: “The compromise you make to get what you want is the sacrifice you take to keep what you have." I find it applies to many life choices and think of it often.
For me, the worst advice anyone can ever give is to put yourself first. I find that a tragically lonely mindset.
What career would you have pursued if it hadn’t been for the newsroom?
For a while I wanted to be a fighter pilot, or a poet. If I ever get offered a job as a pit lane reporter in Formula 1 it would be hard to turn down…!
What do you love about the GB News Family?
I wanted to be a journalist from my mid-teens and worked really hard to get there, on a journey which spanned five countries and multiple newsrooms.
I loved my job for the most part, but became disillusioned with editorial groupthink at the BBC, so much so that I made the decision to give up my career and throw my energy into a political project I believed in, instead.
GB News is the first news organisation I’ve come across that strives to break the consensus of media thought that is so detached from the majority of normal people. It is also truly the happiest, most fun and most tightly-knit place I have ever worked. All credit to the boss for creating something truly special that we all believe in and love, a sentiment we share with - and about - each other, too.
If you could bottle this camaraderie it should be sold to every office in the land. At GB News, every producer, director, presenter, cameraman and techie feels this bond. Newsrooms can be tough environments and at times we’ve felt we’ve all been in the trenches together and taken some flak but we’ve kept our heads down and got on with producing something important and worthwhile. I’m proud to be part of an ever-evolving and unique offering that is pushing boundaries and that truly loves its loyal audience, rather than taking them for granted.
Your biggest accomplishment outside of work?
I think an historic referendum was a pretty big accomplishment to be part of! Other than that, I have honed myself into quite a talented chef and can speak pretty good French.
Most people will be familiar with your work, but tell us something that nobody knows about you?
I paint, play the piano and love cryptic crosswords, Formula 1, Hinduism and military airshows and my party trick is freestyle rapping. I have lived in India, Ghana, China, Kenya, and Belgium and have picked up some pretty unique dancing skills! I am a proud cat mother and, as a notoriously obsessive amateur cook, I also own almost every piece of kitchen equipment that has ever been invented.
Name somebody that you have always wanted to interview, and why?
[German racing driver] Sebastian Vettel. I have been ‘fantasy married’ to him for 14 years. You could call me a bit of a fangirl.