Two senior figures from the BBC are in the race to become Theresa May’s new head of communications, including its high-profile diplomatic editor.
James Landale, who was previously the corporation’s deputy political editor, has been interviewed for the role as well as Robbie Gibb, who heads the BBC’s operations at Westminster, according to Downing Street sources.
May’s press team is currently short-staffed. Katie Perrior, the last director of communications, quit before the election. The strained atmosphere at Downing Street before the election also saw May’s press secretary, Lizzie Loudon, depart, although she has been replaced.
Previous holders of the job include Craig Oliver, who joined from the BBC after making his name revamping the News at Ten and running the BBC’s 2010 general election coverage. He took over from Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor, who quit at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.
During the election campaign, May’s media campaign was headed by joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, who were criticised for being “rude, abusive and childish”. Both have left and been replaced by former MP Gavin Barwell.
Landale, a former newspaper journalist, is an Etonian near-contemporary of the former prime minister David Cameron. Before the 2015 general election, he successfully extracted a commitment from Cameron that he would not contest another election in an interview conducted in the kitchen of his Oxfordshire constituency home.
Gibb leads the BBC’s politics operations at Westminster, editing the Daily and Sunday Politics programmes.
Also believed to be in the running is Chris Wilkins, May’s director of strategy, who has been filling in after Perrior departed.
Source: The Guardian