Columnist Johann Hari has quit the Independent to write a book just a few weeks before he was due to return to the paper following a period of retraining in the US after admitting plagiarism.
Hari says on his website: "I’d like to thank the Independent for the privilege of working for them over the past nine years, and for offering me my job back, starting in a few weeks. But after nearly six months living in New York City, and plenty of time to reflect, I’ve decided to not take them up on their kind offer.
"There are two reasons. I’m willing to take the flack for my errors myself: when you screw up, you should pay a price. But I’m not willing to see other people, who are played no part in those errors and are unimpeachably decent people, take the flack too. It’s not fair on them.
"The Independent has been great to me, and we need its principles in the public arena without distractions. Secondly, while doing some journalistic retraining in the US, I’ve started working on a book on a subject I believe is important and requires urgent action. To be done properly it needs international travel and the kind of in depth focus that’s not possible when you are writing a heavily researched column at the same time.
"So, while I’ll be writing occasional articles elsewhere, I’ll be mainly delving deeply into this one subject for now. Above all else, I’d like to thank all the readers of the Independent. Ever since I started as a columnist as a 23 year old I have learned so much from you. I often learned the most from the more critical messages – you have talked me out of a dozen positions – but your supportive letters and emails since last July have hugely moved me.
"I’ll continue to be a loyal reader and supporter of the Independent. It is one of the world’s great newspapers, and I feel privileged to have been part of it all these years."