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The battle to succeed Laura Kuenssberg as BBC Political Editor is turning into a two-horse race between journalists from Sky and ITV.

Sky’s Sophy Ridge and ITV’s Anushka Asthana are understood to be the frontrunners to succeed Ms Kuenssberg, who quits arguably the most powerful job in British political journalism this month.

Ms Ridge, who presents Sky’s flagship Sunday morning programme, and Ms Asthana, ITV’s deputy political editor, are thought to be battling with internal BBC candidates Faisal Islam and Alex Forsyth for the £290,000-a-year job.

Final interviews are due to take place on Friday, but informed sources suggest an external candidate is the favourite.

Ms Kuenssberg quits arguably the most powerful job in British political journalism this month

Ms Kuenssberg quits arguably the most powerful job in British political journalism this month

Ms Kuenssberg quits arguably the most powerful job in British political journalism this month

Ms Asthana’s ITV News colleagues believe their outgoing chief executive Deborah Turness, who is due to take on the same role at BBC News this year, is a big fan of hers.

As well as being deputy political editor of ITV News, Ms Asthana, 41, a former Guardian journalist, stars on its political show, Peston.

The former chief political correspondent at The Times attended £12,600-a-year Manchester High School for Girls before going on to read economics at St John’s College, Cambridge.

She spent two years working for Sky News as a political correspondent.

Ms Ridge, 38, who has been at Sky News for more than a decade, has recently returned from maternity leave

Ms Ridge, 38, who has been at Sky News for more than a decade, has recently returned from maternity leave

Ms Ridge, 38, who has been at Sky News for more than a decade, has recently returned from maternity leave

State-educated Ms Ridge went to Tiffin Girls’ School in South West London before getting a degree in English Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Prior to getting her own show in 2017, she was a Sky News political reporter, during which time she revealed Ed Miliband’s resignation as Labour leader following the General Election in 2015.

Ms Ridge, 38, who has been at Sky News for more than a decade, has recently returned from maternity leave. Sky staff say she would be a ‘huge loss’ if she joined the BBC.

In January, BBC recruitment staff extended the deadline for applications for the job by three weeks. Initially it was set for January 20, but it then became February 10.

A BBC source said: ‘There has been much exodus of talent at the Beeb recently, and this is an opportunity to reverse it with a really highly regarded appointment.’

Ms Asthana’s ITV News colleagues believe their outgoing chief executive Deborah Turness, who is due to take on the same role at BBC News this year, is a big fan of hers

Ms Asthana’s ITV News colleagues believe their outgoing chief executive Deborah Turness, who is due to take on the same role at BBC News this year, is a big fan of hers

Ms Asthana’s ITV News colleagues believe their outgoing chief executive Deborah Turness, who is due to take on the same role at BBC News this year, is a big fan of hers

The BBC’s former North America editor, Jon Sopel, had been considered the frontrunner, but he quit last month to join the commercial broadcaster Global. Ms Kuenssberg’s deputy Vicki Young pulled out of the race in January, reportedly because her husband is ill.

BBC bosses are said to have strived to ensure that Ms Kuenssberg’s replacement arrives with no political bias after a controversy over the appointment of news executive Jess Brammar, who had tweeted comments critical of Brexit and Government policies.

Source: Daily Mail

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