BBC crisis as two major names RULE OUT replacing Laura Kuenssberg – 'Floundering'

It’s one of the most prestigious roles in British political journalism. The £260,000 salary is not half bad, too. But now two leading candidates for the job of BBC Political Editor have insisted their hats are out of the race, shifting the question from who can fill Ms Kuenssberg’s boots but who will.

After taking over from Nick Robinson in 2015, Ms Kuenssberg confirmed at the end of last year she will step down from the role at Easter.

Two of the leading candidates tipped to replace her have already ruled themselves out, posing a major difficulty for the broadcaster.

One, BBC Deputy Political Editor Vicki Young, publicly declared herself out earlier this month, citing “personal reasons”.

In a post on Twitter, she wrote: “Been getting lots of nice messages about BBC Political Editor job so wanted to let you all know that for personal reasons I won’t be applying.

“But I look forward to supporting whoever gets this incredible role.”

Numerous journalists declared this a major loss for the BBC, with Katy Balls, of the Spectator, branding Ms Young the “best Political Editor we never had”.

Ms Young’s husband is understood to be having treatment for cancer, according to the Sunday Times.

BBC Political Correspondent Chris Mason has also pulled out of the race, the paper reports.

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He, quoted in the Telegraph, added: “In front of our committee [BBC Director-General], Tim Davie could not name any senior person he had employed during his watch who supported Brexit.

“Maybe this is a chance to correct that.”

The job comes both with early starts on Radio 4’s Today programme and late finished on BBC One’s News at Ten.

If it’s the demanding hours that is putting candidates off, broadcaster Michael Crick has suggested the role of Political Editor being split into two.

He suggested the BBC chooses one editor for radio and another for TV.

Mr Crick wrote in an article in Mail Plus: “It would ease the workload and provide a bit of competition.

“After all, the BBC already has separate political editors for Newsnight and BBC Radio 5 Live.”

While she is stepping down from the top job, the BBC said Ms Kuenssberg will stay at the corporation in a “senior presenting and reporting role”.

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