The BBC’s political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg yesterday marked her last day as a BBC political correspondent. She’s moving over to ITN where she’s to take up the post of Business Editor.
It could prove to be the best move she will ever make in order to advance her BBC career. Pop into William Hill now and place a few bob on her being in line to be a future BBC political editor.
The fact of the matter is that over the past three decades at least the BBC has never appointed someone from within its own ranks to be its number one voice on politics.
Let’s look back at previous incumbents of the post currently held by Nick Robinson:
John Cole – ex-Guardian
Robin Oakley – recruited from The Times
Andrew Marr – previously The Independent/Express/Observer
It’s as though the BBC somehow doesn’t trust its own political correspondents and doesn’t believe they have enough stature to be Political Editor.
Even Nick Robinson, who was a BBC political correspondent, had to decamp to ITN for a few years as their Political Editor – seemingly to build up enough non-BBC street cred to satisfy the corporation’s news mandarins – before he took the same job at the BBC.
Think of other BBC pol corrs who never made the top job – Steve Richards, Nick Jones, and Lance Price. Somehow, working for the BBC worked against them.
The most glaring example of this, of course, was John Sergeant – the man who did the famous doorstep with Margaret Thatcher in Paris at the height of her leadership crisis – only to be bypassed for Political Editor. He departed to ITN, to a seemingly more appreciative employer.
John, of course, went on to even dizzier heights with his nation-gripping role on Strictly Come Dancing – and so had the last laugh.
So, Laura, you have probably made a very shrewd move by way of putting yourself in the frame as Mr. Robinson’s successor – whether or not that is your intention.
And if it doesn’t work out at ITN – or BBC News decides not to invite you back – Anton du Beke awaits you…