Chris Mason will be BBC's next political editor

Chris Mason will be BBC’s next political editor: ‘Any Questions?’ presenter will take over from Laura Kuenssberg in weeks after bosses rejected all female-shortlist for £260,000-a-year job

The BBC’s hunt for Laura Kuenssberg’s replacement has ended, after bosses announced that Radio 4 presenter Chris Mason will take up the £260,000 post of Political Editor next month.

Yorkshire-born Mason, the current host of debate show Any Questions? on Radio 4, was tipped to be the favourite following reports that Corporation chiefs were unhappy with the all-female shortlist, which included ITV News’s Anushka Asthana and Sophy Ridge from Sky. 

The 41-year-old, a Cambridge geography candidate who has spent most of his career covering Westminster and has worked at the BBC since 2002, had previously ruled himself out of the running – but is believed to have applied for the post last month after he was ‘courted by rival broadcasters’.  

Regarded as an ‘adept broadcaster’, with ‘sound judgement’ and ‘a flair for political analysis’ by his colleagues, Mason, who now earns less than £150,000, would see his pay rise shoot up to at least £260,000, Kuenssberg’s reported salary. 

Kuenssberg, a titan in the world of political journalism who was accused of Left-wing bias by the Conservative Party, revealed she was stepping down as Political Editor in Autumn last year, with her final assignment at the BBC set to be the local elections coverage next month. 

She was last month announced as the new permanent presenter of the BBC’s Sunday morning politics show, replacing Andrew Marr. 

Speaking with a Yorkshire accent, Mason’s appointment could combat criticisms of the broadcaster for being London-centric and not having enough regional voices.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries previously instructed the BBC to present plans to improve regional and class diversity in the corporation before agreeing the new licence fee settlement.

Mason would likely have to stop presenting Any Questions?, it is understood, but it could later put him in good stead to take over Fiona Bruce on Question Time, The Sunday Times reported.

In a statement, Mason 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 and Andrew 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.’

Kuenssberg tweeted her congratulations, writing: ‘Huge congrats and welcome to the best daily job in the business, to colleague, great friend and of course #newscaster @ChrisMasonBBC’. 

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

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

The BBC's hunt for Laura Kuenssberg's replacement has ended, after bosses announced that Radio 4 presenter Chris Mason will take up the £260,000 post of Political Editor next month

The BBC’s hunt for Laura Kuenssberg’s replacement has ended, after bosses announced that Radio 4 presenter Chris Mason will take up the £260,000 post of Political Editor next month 

Regarded as an 'adept broadcaster', with 'sound judgement' and 'a flair for political analysis' by his colleagues, Mason, who now earns less than £150,000, would see his pay rise shoot up to at least £260,000, Kuenssberg's reported salary

Regarded as an ‘adept broadcaster’, with ‘sound judgement’ and ‘a flair for political analysis’ by his colleagues, Mason, who now earns less than £150,000, would see his pay rise shoot up to at least £260,000, Kuenssberg’s reported salary

Mason, who studied geography at Cambridge, took over Radio 4's Any Questions? show, a topical discussion with a panel of people from politics and media who are posed questions by the public, in October 2019. After spending two decades at the BBC, Mason, who is from Grassington in north Yorkshire, has spent most of his career covering Westminster (pictured amidst an anti-Brexit pro-Europe demonstration)

Mason, who studied geography at Cambridge, took over Radio 4’s Any Questions? show, a topical discussion with a panel of people from politics and media who are posed questions by the public, in October 2019. After spending two decades at the BBC, Mason, who is from Grassington in north Yorkshire, has spent most of his career covering Westminster (pictured amidst an anti-Brexit pro-Europe demonstration)

Kuenssberg, a titan in the world of political journalism who was accused of Left-wing bias by the Conservative Party, revealed she was stepping down as Political Editor in Autumn last year, with her final assignment at the BBC set to be the local elections coverage next month

Kuenssberg, a titan in the world of political journalism who was accused of Left-wing bias by the Conservative Party, revealed she was stepping down as Political Editor in Autumn last year, with her final assignment at the BBC set to be the local elections coverage next month 

Kuenssberg tweeted her congratulations, writing: 'Huge congrats and welcome to the best daily job in the business, to colleague, great friend and of course #newscaster @ChrisMasonBBC'

Kuenssberg tweeted her congratulations, writing: ‘Huge congrats and welcome to the best daily job in the business, to colleague, great friend and of course #newscaster @ChrisMasonBBC’

Yorkshire-born Mason, the current host of debate show Any Questions? on Radio 4, was tipped to be the favourite following reports that Corporation chiefs were unhappy with the all-female shortlist, which included ITV News's Anushka Asthana and Sophy Ridge from Sky

Yorkshire-born Mason, the current host of debate show Any Questions? on Radio 4, was tipped to be the favourite following reports that Corporation chiefs were unhappy with the all-female shortlist, which included ITV News's Anushka Asthana and Sophy Ridge from Sky

Yorkshire-born Mason, the current host of debate show Any Questions? on Radio 4, was tipped to be the favourite following reports that Corporation chiefs were unhappy with the all-female shortlist, which included ITV News’s Anushka Asthana and Sophy Ridge from Sky 

Beth Rigby, Sky News’s political editor and presenter, was also among those congratulation Chris Mason on his appointment as her counterpart at BBC News.

She tweeted: ‘What a great choice. Huge congratulations @ChrisMasonBBC and welcome to the Pol Ed role – the best and busiest beat in the business. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of you Chris!’. 

Mason began his journalism career as a trainee at ITN the week after 9/11, before moving to BBC Radio Newcastle one year later. He also then worked for 5 Live, the Regional Political Unit, the Westminster Hour on Radio 4 and in Brussels as a Europe correspondent. 

Mason took over as presenter for Radio 4’s Any Questions?, a topical discussion with a panel of people from politics and media who are posed questions by the public, in October 2019, and is regularly on the podcast Newscast. 

After spending two decades at the BBC, Mason, who is from Grassington in north Yorkshire, has spent most of his career covering Westminster.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow 

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