A sudden flip-flop to support the Tories is not likely to hurt royal documentary host Amol Rajan should he run to be the BBC’s next political editor, senior figures at the corporation said last night.
It was claimed yesterday that when Mr Rajan was editor of Left-wing newspaper The Independent, he had agreed at the 11th hour to back the Conservatives in the 2015 general election if then-prime minister David Cameron attended the birthday party of the paper’s owner, Evgeny Lebedev.
It shocked many readers after months of praise for Labour.
But the about-face does not seem to have harmed Mr Rajan’s rumoured chances of replacing Laura Kuenssberg as BBC political editor, should she step down in the near future as expected, insiders told the Mail.
But the about-face does not seem to have harmed Mr Rajan’s rumoured chances of replacing Laura Kuenssberg as BBC political editor
Colleagues pointed out that director-general Tim Davie was a fan. Another senior BBC insider also doubted that the revelations would affect his potential candidacy.
The same colleagues questioned whether Mr Rajan, 38, who is currently media editor, wants the job at all. They said they believe he is more interested in a presenting role such as that currently held by Andrew Marr, who is leaving the BBC after 21 years.
In 2013 Mr Rajan, pictured, who is also a host on the Today programme, became the first non-white Fleet Street newspaper editor aged 29.
The Mail on Sunday reported that in the months leading up to the election, The Independent was highly critical of the Tories’ record in the Coalition government.
An editorial on April 4 read: ‘The plain fact is that the Conservatives have misread the national mood again, and it is depressing their electoral appeal… the Tory leadership looks and sounds a little too public school, a touch too smug and a bit too sympathetic to business vested interests.’
Rumours have swirled about Laura Kuenssberg's position as Political Editor at the Corporation
Other editorials criticised the Conservatives’ Right to Buy plans as well as labelling the decision not to raise taxes as ‘foolish’.
However, just two days before the election, The Independent performed a U-turn and praised Mr Cameron for ‘an exceptional achievement’ in creating more jobs and said his party ‘deserve tremendous credit’ for improving schools.
The Guardian reported at the time that Mr Cameron did indeed attend the party of Russian businessman Mr Lebedev, who turned 35 on May 8 – the day after polling day.
Republican Mr Rajan’s documentary The Princes and The Press prompted the Royal Family to threaten to boycott the BBC. The BBC last night said there was no vacancy for the political editor job. Mr Rajan has denied suggestions he changed the editorial line to please Mr Lebedev.