Lord Sacks pays tribute to John Humphrys on final presenting of Today programme
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Lord Sacks pays tribute to John Humphrys on final presenting of Today programme

Former Chief Rabbi says the veteran interviewer was in the biblical 'tradition of holding power accountable to truth' as he quoted texts during his Thought for the Day

John Humphrys with former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks
John Humphrys with former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has paid a warm tribute to the political interviewer John Humphrys on his final day presenting the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 after 32 years.

Sacks compared the retiring Humphrys, 76, to “the prophets of ancient Israel – Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah – people who had the courage to speak truth to power and hold power accountable to truth”.

Speaking during his Thought for the Day slot on Thursday morning, Sacks said: “We don’t have prophets nowadays, but if we did, one place you’d probably find them would be the Today programme, because Today’s tough interviewers are recognisably in that tradition of holding power accountable to truth.

“Among them, for me and very many others, John has been one of the best of our time. What has made John distinctive has been his fearless moral passion and his refusal to be fobbed off with evasions and equivocations.”

The former Chief Rabbi also reminded listeners that Humphrys coined the phrase “in God we doubt,” adding: “I never did persuade John to reconsider his doubt, but he’s taught me that honest doubt can be more powerful than dishonest faith.”

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