The Independent’s political editor is joining the Department for International Trade as its head of news, saying global trade is “about to become the most exciting thing about Britain” post-Brexit.
Joe Watts has led the digital-only title’s Westminster coverage since August 2016, shortly after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
He joined the Independent from the Evening Standard, where he worked as a political correspondent, and has spent more than a decade in the parliamentary lobby.
Watts told Press Gazette: “International trade is about to become the most exciting thing about Britain.
“It’s going to define what it means to feel British and how we’re seen in the world. How could I turn down the chance to be a part of that?
“I’m sad to be leaving The Independent too of course, where I’ve been part of a really committed and talented team of journalists. I know the website is going to continue to break new ground in the future.”
An Independent spokesperson said: “Joe has proved himself an excellent political editor of The Independent during a remarkable period in British politics.
“He will depart with our best wishes and we will announce a replacement in due course.”
Earlier in his career Watts worked for the regional dailies the Nottingham Evening Post, Eastern Daily Press and as a Westminster correspondent for the now-defunct Northcliffe Media news group.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said on Twitter yesterday that he was “delighted” Watts is joining “our first class team”, posting a picture of himself with Watts and permanent secretary Antonia Romeo.
“He brings a wealth of experience to the Department for International Trade and I am looking forward to working with him,” Fox added.
Delighted that @JoeWatts_ is joining our first class team at the Department for International Trade as Head of News. He brings a wealth of experience to @tradegovuk and I am looking forward to working with him. @AntoniaRomeoUK pic.twitter.com/TX35lCAUce
— Dr Liam Fox MP (@LiamFox) February 27, 2019