Anushka Asthana is an early favourite to become BBC political editor FILE PHOTO: Anushka Asthana (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
BRITISH ASIAN journalist Anushka Asthana is a frontrunner to be the BBC’s political editor role on all-female shortlist, media reports last week said.
ITV’s Asthana and Sky News’s Sophy Ridge were said to be among finalists for the coveted position.
Asthana, 41, has been ITV News’s deputy political editor for a year and co-presents the ITV political discussion series Peston with its eponymous host. Previously she was The Guardian’s editor-at-large and has previously worked as a political correspondent at The Times.
Several sources said Asthana is a frontrunner for Laura Kuenssberg’s role, alongside Sophy Ridge, who presents Sky News’s flagship Sunday morning show. Other candidates include Pippa Crerar, political editor of the Daily Mirror and Alex Forsyth, the BBC’s political correspondent.
The broadcaster is believed to have held interviews on Friday (18) and could likely announce a replacement for Kuenssberg before she steps down at Easter.
Kuenssberg, 45, is considered to be the favourite to replace Andrew Marr on the BBC’s Sunday morning political show (Marr left the BBC last year to join LBC). She made history when taking over the political editor role in 2015 from Nick Robinson, as the first woman to hold the post.
The successful candidate will also take up an attractive £260,000-a-year salary for the high-profile role, as well as being only the second woman to ever hold the post.
If Asthana gets the job, she will also make history as the first person of colour in the history of the BBC Political Editor role.
Julian Knight MP, the Tory chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, told The Telegraph, “They are clearly four very capable people – and that is what counts at the end of the day.
“Whoever is going to be given this landmark position in the BBC needs to keep impartiality at the centre of what they do.
“Because let’s be frank about it – the BBC, despite the work of the director-general, still has a long way to go in terms of impartiality.”