BBC crisis explodes as broadcaster floundering in hunt to replace Laura Kuenssberg

Laura Kuenssberg, 45, announced she would step down as the BBC’s political editor in December. But with the clock ticking until she moves on to a senior presenting and reporting role in April, the broadcaster is hunting to find a candidate to replace her.

It has been suggested she could become a presenter on the Today programme.

However, her departure creates a difficult situation.

Radio 4’s Any Questions presenter, Chris Mason, 41, ruled himself out of the race.

Mason also worked alongside Kuenssberg, Europe editor Katya Adler, 49, and Adam Fleming, 41, on the Brexitcast show.

This follows on from the BBC’s deputy political editor, Vicki Young, 51.

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According to the Times, Young’s husband, Rae Stewart, is receiving treatment for cancer and Mason wants to concentrate on Any Questions and writing his book.

Unlike when Kuenssberg or her predecessor, Nick Robinson, 58, were hired for the role, sources suggest there are no front-runners.

A BBC source told the Sunday Times: “It was utterly obvious who would get it: this time it isn’t.”

However, the BBC’s former North American editor, Jon Sopel, 62, appears most likely to succeed Kuenssberg.

Mr Sopel was chief political correspondent for BBC News and was passed over for the job back in 2015.

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However, he also suggested taking on both roles would be “hard”.

The BBC’s political editor role, which is said to be worth £260,000-a-year, involves early starts on Radio 4’s Today programme and finishes with the News at Ten on BBC1.

Kuenssberg’s stint in the role also saw her cover the 2016 referendum and even produced a two-part documentary called ‘The Brexit Storm’.

The role also comes with pressure and criticism on social media.

Ms Kuenssberg had to take a security guard with her to the Labour Party conference in 2017.

Speaking about the role, Marr said: “It is a ferociously hard life in terms of the hours and what is expected of you, and to pile on top of that the expectation that you are going to be public enemy No1 for all the Twitter keyboard warriors in the most vituperative, personal and unpleasant terms — that’s a very hard thing to cope with.”

“You need a skin like a rhino and a powerful constitution to keep going.”

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