Laura Kuenssberg Steps Down As Political Editor At BBC News

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  • Laura Kuenssberg
    British journalist
Laura Kuenssberg (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images)
Laura Kuenssberg (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images)

Laura Kuenssberg has quit her job as political editor at BBC News.

The journalist will step down from her post next Easter after seven years in the job, to take up a senior presenting and reporting role across the BBC.

In a statement, Kuenssberg said: “I’ve been so lucky to do the best daily reporting job in the business, with the best colleagues anyone could wish for. It’s been incredible to occupy the chair during a time of such huge change and to try to make sense of it for our viewers, listeners and readers online.

“I’ll miss the daily drama, and our wonderful team in Westminster, immensely. But after nearly seven years and what feels like decades’ worth of headlines, it’s time for the next move.”

Kuenssberg became the first female Political Editor at BBC News after succeeding Nick Robinson in July 2015.

She first joined the BBC in 2000, working on BBC North East and Cumbria as a trainee journalist. She went on to win a regional Royal Television Society award for her work as home affairs correspondent.

In her role as chief political correspondent for BBC News, Kuenssberg reported for BBC One bulletins, Daily Politics and BBC News before taking up the role of business editor for ITV News in 2011.

In 2013, she left ITV to return to the BBC as chief correspondent before replacing Gavin Esler as the presenter of Newsnight in 2014.

She was appointed as the BBC’s political editor in 2015, the first woman to hold the position.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie said of her decision to step down: “Laura has been an outstanding BBC political editor throughout the most turbulent political times in living memory. Her incisive commentary, tough questioning and astute insight have guided our audiences through the last seven years.

“She’s a superb interviewer and engaging presenter, and I’m thrilled that we are keeping her on our screens and airwaves. I’m looking forward to her next chapter.”

BBC Director of News Fran Unsworth added: “Laura’s a born journalist and she’s done an amazing job as political editor. She’s an energetic and determined story-getter, who gets straight to the heart of the issue and knows exactly the right questions to ask.

“Our political coverage would have been immeasurably poorer without Laura as political editor. We’re lucky to have her.”

The BBC said it will begin “a competitive recruitment process” for her successor as political editor.

Former Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke talks to Kuenssberg after Parliament rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal. (Photo: Henry Nicholls / Reuters)
Former Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke talks to Kuenssberg after Parliament rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal. (Photo: Henry Nicholls / Reuters)

During her time in the role, Kuenssberg was accused of political bias on several occasions.

A petition accusing her of being biased against the Labour Party and calling for her dismissal was started following the 2016 local elections.

It was later withdrawn amid concern it had become a “focal point for sexist and hateful abuse” against her.

In January 2017 the BBC Trust ruled that a report in November 2015 by Kuenssberg broke the broadcaster’s impartiality and accuracy guidelines after a viewer complained about her interview with Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC News at Six.

Later that year she was assigned bodyguards at the Labour party conference in Brighton following online abuse.

The BBC took the decision after she faced threats over alleged bias in her reporting about Jeremy Corbyn. She was also accused of partiality by supporters of the Conservatives and Ukip.

In 2019, the BBC defended Kuenssberg after she faced an online backlash over her tweets about an angry father of a sick baby who confronted Boris Johnson.

Omar Salem, who Kuenssberg labeled “a Labour activist” on Twitter, claimed there were not enough doctors and nurses as he challenged the prime minister in a conversation caught on camera that went viral.

Salem later defended her, saying that she was doing her job “without fear or favour which is a vital part of democracy.”

In 2020, she also faced criticism after appearing to jump to the defence of Dominic Cummings following reports he flouted lockdown rules to visit his parents.

Responding to the scoop in The Mirror, Kuenssberg tweeted: “Source says his trip was within guidelines as Cummings went to stay with his parents so they could help with childcare while he and his wife were ill - they insist no breach of lockdown.”

The BBC confirmed it had received complaints over the tweet, but defended her in a statement, insisting: “We don’t consider that Laura was tweeting in defence of Dominic Cummings. Laura was simply reporting information from a source, and we believe this was clearly stated in her tweet.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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