STAFF at GB News believe the channel’s chairman Andrew Neil has been “sidelined” and feel it is “almost like he was never there”, an insider has claimed.

Neil played a central role in founding the right-wing news channel but just two weeks in, after a plague of technical difficulties hit the broadcaster, he decided to take a leave of absence.

The former BBC interviewer was non-committal when it came to confirming when he’d be back from France, saying only that he’d return “before the summer is out”.

After Neil stepped back the channel was hit by a number of fresh issues – including ratings so low they could not be registered and a row over a former presenter taking the knee on air.

The National:

Guto Harri (above) later left the channel when GB News said he had breached its standards. Days later, former Ukip and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was announced for his new show Talking Pints.

Angelos Frangopoulos, the GB News chief executive and former Sky News Australia boss, is reportedly keen to push GB News further towards the Fox News style of news television.

One source told The Telegraph that staff hear that “relations between the chairman [Neil] and the chief executive have completely broken down”.

“It’s clear to us in Paddington that the chief executive is now in total charge of everything at GB News,” they claimed.

The National:

“We now operate on the basis that Andrew has been sidelined and regard the chief executive as very much the boss. We haven’t seen Andrew’s fingerprints on any decisions for sometime now … It’s almost like he was never there.”

Another said staff felt “left in the lurch” and “let down” by Neil’s surprise departure.

“That said, he looked miserable, dejected and seriously stressed during the two weeks he was in Paddington,” they went on.

“It wasn’t just the shambolic launch getting him down. It was the relentless technical failures making proper broadcasting impossible. One night I was in the newsroom as he came off air after another hour of technical disasters. I think he was close to tears.”

READ MORE: Andrew Neil complains he 'wasn't paid a penny' after leaving BBC

According to sources at the channel, there is increasing speculation that Neil won’t be coming back. But the journalist has insisted that he is “simply taking a break to replenish my batteries after the rigours of the launch”.

A spokesperson for Neil added that he intends to come back to the channel next month.

A GB News spokesperson said: “As previously announced, we look forward to Andrew Neil’s return from holiday in September to host his 8pm show.

"We are enormously proud of our progress in only eight weeks. As a start-up, we continue to move at lightning speed, learning, refining and growing constantly. We’re committed to serving our audience by delivering the stories and issues that matter to them."

Speaking last month after Harri quit and director of news and programmes John McAndrew left, Neil insisted GB News has a “great future” ahead.

Presenter Alastair Stewart also announced last month that he is taking a break from his GB News show after breaking his hip.