Huw Edwards to take over BBC general election role from David Dimbleby

News anchor will present election programming up to 2020 leaving questions over 77-year-old veteran broadcaster’s future at the corporation

Huw Edwards is to anchor the next general election results show for the BBC, taking over the role filled by David Dimbleby since 1979, the corporation has confirmed.

Edwards, the anchor of BBC1’s News at Ten, had been expected to present last year’s general election results before it became the 77-year-old Dimbleby’s swansong.

When the Guardian revealed that the veteran presenter would front the EU referendum results night on 23 June, doubts were cast on the future role for Edwards.

However, a spokesman for the BBC moved to quash such doubts: “Huw Edwards will anchor all the BBC’s main election programming up to and including the general election of 2020.”

Although Edwards will lead the coverage of local elections on 5 May, the Guardian understands that Andrew Neil, the Daily Politics host, is being lined up to host the BBC’s US election coverage on 8 November.

Neil, a former White House correspondent who has a degree in American history, is understood to have convinced the BBC to hire studio space in Elstree for the US elections normally reserved for British elections.

The same studios, which allow space for the swingometer made famous during elections and now fronted by Jeremy Vine, will be used for the EU referendum results in June.

Edwards will anchor coverage of the US elections from Washington DC for the BBC flagship news programme. He will also “retain his role anchoring major state and ceremonial events” for the BBC, which he has done for some time when Dimbleby is unable to.

It is not yet known whether Dimbleby’s five-year contract, which includes hosting Question Time for a reported £15,000 an episode, will be extended when it finishes this summer.

On Tuesday, the BBC announced that it is to stage a special edition of BBC1’s Question Time, moderated by Dimbleby, as part of three BBC1 debates in the run-up to the EU referendum.

The first of the BBC1 debates will be presented by Victoria Derbyshire on 19 May from Glasgow in Scotland and is aimed at younger voters.

The Question Time episode, to air on 15 June and which the BBC hope to convince prime minister David Cameron to appear on, will be followed on 21 June by a huge event at London’s Wembley Arena. Dimbleby will be joined at this event by Today presenter Mishal Husain and Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis ready to question representatives from the leave and remain camps.


Jane Martinson

The GuardianTramp

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