Andrew Neil is leaving Sunday Politics after five years of presenting the show, the BBC announced today. Veteran broadcaster Neil, who has been the main presenter of the BBC1 programme since it launched in 2012, will be replaced by BBC Scotland editor Sarah Smith.
Gavin Allen, BBC Controller of Daily Live Programmes said that Neil had decided it was “time to step back”.
“Andrew Neil is a gifted presenter and he put Sunday Politics firmly on the political agenda with his no-nonsense expertise and forensic interview technique,” he said.
“After decades of working weekends he has decided it is time to step back and hand over the reins.
“Sarah is a proven presenter and first class political journalist who will bring an exciting and fresh perspective to Sunday Politics. Sarah’s political expertise and pedigree will mean the show won’t miss a beat when it returns after the summer.”
Smith is to be the new presenter of Sunday Politics when it returns after its summer break on 17th September, and she will combine working on the weekend programme with her current full time role as the BBC’s first Scotland Editor based in Glasgow.
Neil tweeted his support for Smith this morning.
He also said that presenting the show had been a “privilege and honour” and that he will “miss it greatly”. He will continue to work with the BBC on This Week, Daily Politics and other projects.
Smith, who also used to be a presenter on Channel 4 news and has previously produced Newsnight, 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.”