After Laura Kuenssberg was appointed political editor at the BBC and Robert Peston moved to ITV to head up the channels political coverage, James Landale – the former BBC deputy political editor – took to social media to praise those overlooked broadcast journalists who emit ‘quiet competence’ and ‘put the story first’. But is Landale’s hard work about to pay off?
Word reaches Steerpike that the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent is being lined up to take on the top communications job at No 10. Since Kate Perrior quit as director of communications (amid reports of a rift with other members of the Downing Street team), Chris Wilkins has been filling in. However, the talk in Westminster is that the post is to be taken up permanently by an external candidate – with the two favourites for the role both currently employed by the BBC. ‘It’s still early days but James is seen as a favourite,’ whispers Mr S’s man-in the-know.
If Landale does get the brief, Mr S suspects one of the first things he will do is try and make Mrs May more diplomatic. After The Spectator‘s Parliamentarian of the Year awards, he wrote a blog for the BBC criticising the Prime Minister for ‘her lack of grace’ in the jibes she made at her colleagues – including the Foreign Secretary – in her speech.
Update: After Mr S revealed the hunt was on to find a new Director of Communications, it seems the pressure has got to Landale. The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent has taken to social media to say that he was approached for the job – but has now decided to stay at the BBC. Landale’s colleague Robbie Gibb – the BBC politics supremo – is now the frontrunner for the role.
Parish news: I was asked if I would consider a job at No10. Nice to be asked but have decided not to apply. Have great job at BBC.
— James Landale (@BBCJLandale) July 5, 2017