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April 12, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:39am

Faisal Islam bids farewell to Sky News after five years as political editor

By Charlotte Tobitt

Sky News political editor Faisal Islam bid farewell to the broadcaster yesterday after five years covering what he described as a “rollercoaster of mutating political crises”.

Islam is taking on the role of economics editor at the BBC, replacing Kamal Ahmed who is now editorial director at BBC News. The BBC said Islam will start his new role in the summer.

After his final broadcast last night, Islam tweeted: “Final Sky News live from Downing Street with the people that make it all happen… thanks to all the amazing camera, sound, production, logistical and technical colleagues helping us bring five years of political madness to air.

“Privilege to have been political editor.”

He also shared his top ten “extraordinary things of past half decade of political halfwittery”, sharing stories from his run as political editor including his first interview in the role in 2014 (with then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson) and Michael Gove saying the public had “had enough of experts”.

Islam will be succeeded by Sky News deputy political editor Beth Rigby, who described her promotion last month as a “huge opportunity and responsibility at such an important time in our political life”.

Reflecting on his time at Sky News in an article published online today, Islam wrote about his “front row seat” to the often “unpredictable” political developments of the past five years.

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But, on the hardest parts of the job, he wrote: “Reporting on the Manchester bombing from Downing St and on Jo Cox’s murder from the Vote Leave Bus was very difficult.

“I fear politics has not learnt the lessons it needs to from the latter form of political terrorism. Unnecessarily aggressive personalised attacks on our politicians demean and endanger the entire process.”

Islam added that he finds the “weaponisation of betrayal politics… deeply troubling”, adding: “There are senior politicians who should stop playing with fire.”

His final words went to thank the Sky News viewers and readers, saying: “I have thrived on all the feedback, some of my best lines of questioning have emerged from you.

“The lady at the Sturgeon rally who said of the oil price slump deficit ‘we will find it within us’, the Tory vote in Stockton when we’d been told the town was moving towards Corbyn a week before the election, the Stand Up Be Counted young voters who roasted David Cameron and Ed Miliband far more effectively than most journalists.

“And Sky News will no doubt continue to serve up ever better political coverage with Beth Rigby, Jon, Tom, Rob, Lewis, Kate, Tamara and soon Sam Coates [who joins Sky News as deputy political editor this year].”

Sky News staff, including Kay Burley and Sophy Ridge, took to Twitter to wave Islam off and congratulate Rigby on her new role.

Political correspondent Lewis Goodall described Islam as “one of the best journalists I’ve worked with and the nicest man too” while senior Ireland correspondent David Blevins said Rigby is “going to absolutely nail it”.

Picture: Sky News

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