Laura Kuenssberg's replacement as BBC political editor 'should be a Brexiteer'

  • In World
  • 2021-10-22 17:42:33Z
  • By The Telegraph
If Laura Kuenssberg steps down, the BBC should hire a political editor who supported Brexit, said Julian Knight
If Laura Kuenssberg steps down, the BBC should hire a political editor who supported Brexit, said Julian Knight  

The BBC should cast the net wide and consider hiring a political editor who supported Brexit to replace Laura Kuenssberg if she leaves the role, a senior Tory MP has said.

Julian Knight, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that monitors the BBC for the Commons, said that if there was a vacancy at the top of BBC News' political team, then the corporation should "throw the net wider" to find a replacement.

Jon Sopel, the corporation's US editor, who has announced he is standing down, is leading a field of internal BBC candidates to replace Kuenssberg, who is reportedly in talks about a move to a different role.

Mr Knight paid tribute to the widely respected Kuenssberg - who has held the post for six years - saying that she "will be a really sad loss to the role, she brings real insight".

But he added that if she were to stand down it would give the BBC a chance to hire a replacement with clear pro-Brexit views.

Julian Knight said this would be
Julian Knight said this would be 'a real opportunity for the BBC'  

He said: "This would be an opportunity for the BBC, maybe, to look at journalists who had a much more pro-Brexit [approach].

"In front of our committee [BBC director general], Tim Davie could not name any senior person he had employed during his watch who supported Brexit. Maybe this is a chance to correct that."

Sopel leads a runners and riders of journalists published by the Politico website including Kuenssberg's deputy, Vicki Young, as well as James Landale, Amol Rajan, Adam Fleming, Chris Mason, Nick Watt, Alex Forsyth, Faisal Islam, Sarah Smith, Riz Lateef and Lewis Goodall.

The only non-BBC candidates to make Politico's list were Beth Rigby and Sam Coates, the numbers one and two in Sky News' political team.

'It's a bit too soon to start speculating'

A BBC spokesman declined to comment on Mr Knight's remarks, pointing out that the political editor role was not vacant.

The BBC has not been drawn on the political editor role, with a spokesman stating this week: "The North America editor role is currently being advertised internally and the role will go through the normal recruitment process.

"It's a bit soon to start speculating about the outcome of this, let alone other jobs which aren't actually vacant."


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