Laura Kuenssberg savages Keir Starmer on 'abandoning pledges'
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Speculation has been rife in the recent month’s that the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg would be stepping down in the new year. The veteran journalist confirmed her intention to leave on Twitter today, after seven years in the role, and will step down in April 2022.
Ms Kuenssberg said: “I’ve been so lucky to do the best daily reporting job in the business, with the best colleagues anyone could wish for.
“It’s been incredible to occupy the chair during a time of such huge change and to try to make sense of it for our viewers, listeners and readers online.
“I’ll miss the daily drama, and our wonderful team in Westminster, immensely.
“But after nearly seven years and what feels like decades’ worth of headlines, it’s time for the next move.”
Ms Kuenssberg will remain at the BBC in a senior reporting role, thought to be presenting the Radio 4 Today programme or to replace Andrew Marr on the Sunday morning political slot.
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Her departure comes at a time when the broadcaster is under immense political and financial pressure, and the job of choosing her replacement will be especially carefully thought out.
Likely to come from within the institution, BBC Director-General Tim Davie is already been urged by some politicians to pick a pro-Brexit candidate.
There is also likely to be the appetite to appoint another woman in the role, with Ms Kuenssberg being the first to hold the position.
Mr Davie paid tribute to Ms Kuenssberg, saying: “Laura has been an outstanding BBC political editor throughout the most turbulent political times in living memory.
“Her incisive commentary, tough questioning and astute insight have guided our audiences through the last seven years.
“She’s a superb interviewer and engaging presenter, and I’m thrilled that we are keeping her on our screens and airwaves. I’m looking forward to her next chapter.”
Jon Sopel recently ended his run as the BBC’s North America editor, causing speculation he could be returning to the UK to take up the mantle of Political Editor – although he has insisted he is returning to pen another book.
Mr Sopel was in the running for the job back in 2015 when Ms Kuenssberg was appointed, and he could be in with a better chance this time around, reportedly being the favourite of many BBC staff.
However, he is the oldest contender in the ring by a considerable stretch, which could put off BBC bosses who want a younger editor to be in position for years to come.
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Second in command to Ms Kuenssberg, the BBC’s Director-General Tim Davie considers Vicki Young a safe pair of hands, making her a likely contender for the replacement.
Ms Young was promoted to be Deputy Political Editor in October 2020 after 25 years of service at the BBC.
Andrew Marr, who is also leaving his post at the BBC in 2022, has backed Ms Young for the top job.
He said in October: “I don’t have any inside knowledge but I think Vicki Young, the current deputy political editor should get it.”
“I think she would be brilliant, she is a real talent and it would be great to see her in the job.”
Katya Adler has become well known among Brexit followers for her coverage as Europe Editor since 2014.
With over 20 years of broadcasting experience, Ms Adler has been at the BBC for almost all of her journalism career, so is well placed to take a step up to Political Editor.
Ms Adler has covered some of the biggest stories in recent years inside and outside of the EU, including the death of Pope John Paul II, the Eurozone crisis, and the Iraq War.
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