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April 13, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:15am

Chris Mason to replace Laura Kuenssberg as BBC political editor

By Andrew Kersley

Chris Mason will be the BBC’s next political editor, taking over from Laura Kuenssberg next month.

Mason has served as a political correspondent for the broadcaster for over ten years across its radio, TV and online output. He has also presented BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? since 2019, which he will continue doing until the summer.

He was also the co-host of the BBC podcast Brexitcast and is a regular on its sister podcast Newscast alongside Kuenssberg.

Mason, who has been a broadcast news reporter for nearly 20 years, said: “What a tremendous privilege to take on what, for me, is the most extraordinary job in British broadcasting and journalism.

“I clamber upon the shoulders of giants like Laura, Nick [Robinson] and Andrew [Marr] with a smattering of trepidation and a shedload of excitement and enthusiasm.

“To lead the best team of journalists in the business on the best news patch of the lot is something I’d never even dared dream of. I can’t wait to get started.”

Interim director of BBC News Jonathan Munro said: “Chris has been an exceptional correspondent at an extraordinary time in British politics. His calm, incisive analysis and signature candid style have been invaluable for audiences when navigating complex stories.

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“His ambition and vision for the political editor role is really exciting and I wish him every success in the new post.”

Yorkshire-born and raised, and educated at Cambridge, Mason is reported to be seen by BBC executives as someone who could serve as an “outsider” from the Westminster bubble and could represent the views of so-called Red Wall voters.

After beginning his career as a trainee at ITN, Mason first joined the BBC in 2001, working on the BBC regional desk at Westminster, as Europe correspondent and as a political reporter on BBC Radio 5 Live before becoming a political correspondent for BBC News in 2012.

In 2017 he began presenting the Brexitcast podcast with Adam Fleming, before eventually being joined by Katya Adler and Kuenssberg, as the show changed its name to Newscast.

Mason is reported to have not been initially keen to apply for the political editor job, instead wanting to focus on his role as chair of Any Questions?, but was persuaded to apply after being courted by BBC officials.

His current salary is less than the £150,000 required for it to be publicly declared by the BBC. Kuenssberg earned at least £260,000 last year, suggesting Mason is set to receive a substantial pay raise.

Kuenssberg tweeted her congratulations to her colleague, writing: “Huge congrats and welcome to the best daily job in the business, to a colleague, a great friend and of course newscaster, Chris Mason.”

Mason is set to take over the role from Kuenssberg in May, after the end of the upcoming local elections.

Kuenssberg, who served as political editor for seven years, will take over the BBC Sunday morning TV politics slot in September after the recent departure of Andrew Marr, who hosted the slot for 16 years.

The recruitment process for the role has been ongoing for the last few months, with several other favourites emerging before Mason’s appointment.

Speculation has surrounded deputy political editor Vicki Young, former North America editor Jon Sopel, economics editor Faisal Islam and ITV’s Paul Brand. At one stage there was reported to be an all-female shortlist including Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge and ITV deputy political editor Anushka Asthana.

Sopel dropped out of the race in February after joining LBC and its owner Global to front a major new podcast for the Global Player as well as host a show on LBC, alongside fellow BBC departee Emily Maitlis.

Brand, who got a series of major scoops surrounding Partygate for ITV, also dropped out of the list of favourites after it was announced he would be taking over as the host of ITV’s current affairs show Tonight.

Picture: BBC

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