BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has said of those who threaten and abuse her for doing her job that “what they are trying to do is silence me”.
Kuenssberg was interviewed by her boss, outgoing BBC News director James Harding, at a lunch event run by the charity Jewish Care yesterday, telling the audience: “I didn’t aspire to have the finger pointed at me”.
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Kuenssberg, the BBC’s first female political editor, was assigned a bodyguard to cover the Labour Party conference this year amid abuse from Jeremy Corbyn supporters who claim her reporting is biased against him.
On Tuesday the BBC revealed that Labour activist Bex Bailey waived her right to anonymity to allege that the Labour Party had encouraged her not to pursue a rape allegation in 2011.
Tweeting the claim from her personal account prompted other users to accuse Kuenssberg of “shocking bias”. There were claims she has ignored allegations of sexual misconduct against 36 Tory MPs, including cabinet ministers.
Kuenssberg has previously brushed off questions about the abuse she receives, telling Press Gazette that “politics is a tough business” after being named Journalist of the Year at the 2016 British Journalism Awards.
At yesterday’s lunch she said: “No matter how unpleasant and personal it might be, it is not as bad as what other journalists face around the world in much more difficult circumstances,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.
On the sexual harassment allegations currently rife in Westminster, Kuenssberg said: “It is hard to tell where it is going to end up. There has been a stopper on the bottle for a long time.”
She added: “It is important for people to get a handle on the seriousness of what is happening. We need people to feel they can come forward.”