The Guardian set tongues wagging across Westminster in December when its editor Katharine Viner appointed two women to share the role of political editor. Although the paper’s chief political correspondent Nicholas Watt had been seen as the favourite to succeed Patrick Wintour, Sky News‘s Anushka Asthana and Observer economics editor Heather Stewart were offered the role as a job-share, after applying together.
Happily Watt appeared to be gracious in defeat. While he tweeted that he was ‘disappointed’ to miss out on the role, he said he was looking forward to working with the ‘formidable duo’.
— Nicholas Watt (@nicholaswatt) December 11, 2015
Alas word reaches Steerpike that Watt may not have much time working for Asthana and Stewart after all. Mr S understands that Watt is being lined up to join Newsnight as the show’s new political editor. He is expected to replace Allegra Stratton — who is also a former Guardian employee — after she stepped down as political editor to join ITV News as their National Editor this month.
While a BBC spokesman says that discussions are still ongoing and no decision has been made, Watt would certainly make for an interesting hire. Although hiring another Guardian journalist for the role would fuel accusations of left-wing bias at the BBC, the appointment could also upset the Corbynistas. ‘Let’s just say Nick isn’t really in there with the Corbyn wing of the Grauniad,’ one observer diplomatically notes.
Update: Mr S sends his congratulations to Nicholas Watt. After Steerpike revealed in January that Watt was being lined up for the role, Newsnight editor Ian Katz has announced that he is the show’s new political editor:
‘Nick is one of the most trusted, authoritative and engaging journalists in the country. With a background in Northern Ireland, Europe and Westminster he’s also uniquely equipped to guide viewers through an increasingly fractured and complex political landscape, and to lead the programme’s coverage of one of the most important and potentially tumultuous political periods in modern memory.’
Another day, another Guardian journalist joins the Beeb.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.