General Election 2019: Huw Edwards to lead BBC coverage

Image caption,
Edwards spent 13 years as a political journalist in Westminster

Newsreader Huw Edwards will be the lead presenter for the BBC's 2019 election night coverage, taking over from the long-serving David Dimbleby.

Fran Unsworth, the BBC's director of news, said he would be "the perfect presenter to have at the helm as a trusted and authoritative guide".

Edwards said he hoped "to put his 35 years of experience to good use".

He said his job was to guide viewers through what he called "the most important election for decades".

"Our aim in BBC News is to provide the best possible service to voters in a very uncertain world," he said.

Edwards will serve as lead presenter of the BBC's election night coverage on 12 December and will be joined by Reeta Chakrabarti, Andrew Neil and Tina Daheley.

Jeremy Vine will use the traditional "swingometer" to measure electoral shifts, while Sophie Raworth will analyse the results as they come in on a giant constituency map of the UK.

Sarah Smith and Kirsty Wark will broadcast live from Scotland, while Naga Munchetty, Andrew Marr and Nick Robinson will be among the presenters reporting from key constituency locations.

Political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Europe editor Katya Adler, economics editor Faisal Islam and media editor Amol Rajan will also be part of the election programme team.

Emily Maitlis will become the first female news anchor to front the BBC's coverage of day two.

Image caption,
He will follow in the footsteps of long-time election presenter David Dimbleby

Unsworth said the 2019 election was "one of the most important - and unpredictable - elections for years".

"The BBC's aim is simple," she said. "We want to give audiences the information they need to help them decide how to cast their vote."

Writing in her blog, the BBC's director of news and current affairs said audiences should expect a range of opinions and political persuasions to be given air time.

The BBC, she said, would "report on, scrutinise, and interview representatives from all relevant political parties".

"Interviewing is not 'platforming' and reporting someone's words isn't an endorsement of what they've said."

David Dimbleby was the BBC's main presenter for all UK general elections from 1979 to 2017.

Last year the veteran presenter stepped down as host of Question Time, having chaired the show since 1994.

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