Sarah Smith is to become the new presenter of BBC One’s Sunday Politics show when it returns from its summer break.
Smith’s appointment comes after it was announced that current presenter, Andrew Neil is to step down. Neil has been the main presenter of the show since it began in January 2012.
Smith will combine working on the weekend programme with her current full time role as the BBC’s first Scotland Editor, based in Glasgow.
The appointment of Smith into the role is a small step forward from the BBC’s recent controversy over its gender pay gap.
In July, the BBC released the salaries of its highest paid stars, revealing a shocking gender pay gap. Claudia Winkleman is the highest paid woman, earning £450,000; while Chris Evans is the highest paid man, earning £2.2 million.
Within the top ten highest-earning stars, only three are women – Winkleman; newsreader Fiona Bruce, who earns over £350,000; and Alex Jones, who earns over £400,000.
Speaking about her new role, Smith said, “Andrew is one of the great political interviewers who leaves big shoes to fill.”
“I am thrilled to take on this role at such an exciting time in British politics.”
“I am very much looking forward to working with the Sunday Politics team.”
“For me now, if it is a Sunday it’s the Sunday Politics.”
Speaking of his departure, Neil said, “I loved presenting Sunday Politics, it was a privilege and honour to hold the political discourse up to the light for all those years and while I will miss it greatly I am delighted to continue to work for the BBC on This Week, Daily Politics and other projects.”
“I wish Sarah the best of luck with this challenging and wonderful production.”