Who is Chris Mason? The BBC’s new political editor in profile

Yorkshireman to replace Laura Kuenssberg in top job

Joe Sommerlad
Wednesday 13 April 2022 15:45
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<p>Chris Mason</p>

Chris Mason

BBC News has announced that journalist Chris Mason will replace Laura Kuenssberg as its new political editor.

Responding to the promotion, the 41-year-old, who has spent a decade covering Westminster for the corporation, said: “What a tremendous privilege to take on what, for me, is the most extraordinary job in British broadcasting and journalism.

“I clamber upon the shoulders of giants like Laura, Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr with a smattering of trepidation and a shedload of excitement and enthusiasm.

“To lead the best team of journalists in the business on the best news patch of the lot is something I’d never even dared dream of. I can’t wait to get started.”

Ms Kuenssberg will cover the local elections in early May before replacing Mr Marr as the new permanent presenter of the BBC’s Sunday morning politics show.

According to the BBC’s most recent annual report, she earned between £260,000 and £264,999 in the role.

Originally from Steeton with Eastburn in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the son of two primary school teachers, Chris Mason grew up in Grassington and was enrolled at Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton.

Thereafter he attended Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he studied geography but participated in student media, channelling a lifelong passion for radio inspired by BBC Lancashire.

After graduation, he started his career as an ITN trainee and took a postgraduate diploma in journalism at City, University of London before joining BBC Newcastle in 2002.

He delivered his first report from Westminster in 2004, spent two years in Brussels as a Europe correspondent and had a stint as BBC Radio 5 Live’s political reporter before joining BBC News in 2012 as a political correspondent.

He distinguished himself during Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations, a period in which he hosted the Brexitcast podcast, by appearing on BBC Breakfast in November 2018 and frankly admitting his bafflement at it all.

“So where are we in all of this Brexit process?” he wondered. “To be quite honest, looking at things right now, I haven’t got the foggiest idea what is going to happen in the coming weeks. Is the prime minister going to get a deal with the EU? Dunno! Is she going to be able to get it through the Commons? Don’t know about that, either. I think you might as well get Mr Blobby back on to offer his analysis, because, frankly, I suspect his is now as good as mine.”

His candour drew much amusement on the continent and the remarks were translated into French for readers of Le Parisien.

Among Mr Mason’s other notable contributions to the corporation’s output are the BBC Radio 4 documentaries Could the PM Have a Brummie Accent? and The Country vs the City and Any Questions?, the debate show which he has chaired since 2019.

He reportedly beat Sky’s Sophy Ridge, ITV’s deputy political editor Anushka Asthana and his own fellow Newscast host Adam Fleming to the top job.

The announcement of his appointment drew congratulatory tweets from Mr Fleming, Ms Kuenssberg, Sky’s Beth Rigby and ITV’s Paul Brand, among many others.

Additional reporting by agencies

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