Emily Maitlis left the BBC because she was ‘frustrated’ with its impartiality, source says

Emily Maitlis defected to LBC with Jon Sopel after being ‘frustrated at being ticked off by BBC bosses for her impartiality’

  • Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel leave the BBC to co-host a show for LBC
  • Pair, who joins former BBC veteran Andrew Marr at LBC, will also host a new podcast
  • Broadcasters are currently earning over £550,000 combined from the BBC
  • But it is believed they will both have gotten pay rises from their new employer










The BBC was thrown into disarray yesterday as two of its biggest news stars quit to co-present a show and podcast for radio station LBC.

Former bosses Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel reportedly found out just hours before media group Global announced the deal.

The pair are now set to land a massive cash boost. Outgoing North America editor Mr Sopel is believed to have nearly doubled his BBC salary to £234,999.

BBC veterans and good friends Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel (pictured) are leaving the company to join Global, owners of LBC, where they will present a show and podcast together

Sopel and Maitlis have been at the BBC for decades and earn big money, £235,000 and £325,000 respectively

Sopel and Maitlis have been at the BBC for decades and earn big money, £235,000 and £325,000 respectively

Sopel and Maitlis have been at the BBC for decades and earn big money, £235,000 and £325,000 respectively, but it is understood both will have gotten a pay rise in their new roles.

Newsnight presenter Miss Maitlis is also believed to have landed a hefty pay rise from her salary bracket of up to £329,999. A source described the deal as an “irresistible package”.

Global poached another of the company’s newsmakers, Andrew Marr, in November.

He left the BBC after 21 years to present shows on LBC and Classic FM, and is believed to have doubled his salary to £339,999 in the move.

The recent departures have sparked talk of a “brain drain” and “exodus” within the company’s news division.

Last night BBC insiders said they believed Miss Maitlis, 51, who has worked at the company since 2001, quit in part because she was ‘frustrated’ at being ‘checked off’ repeatedly by the bosses for questions of impartiality.

She was at the center of a row in 2020 when the BBC decided she broke impartiality rules in a monologue about Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown.

Pictured: Andrew Marr will present new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM in 2022

Pictured: Andrew Marr will present new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM in 2022

In June, she was reprimanded for sharing a Twitter post from Piers Morgan about the pandemic that the company called “clearly controversial”.

A senior source said the couple’s defection was “extraordinary”, especially as Mr Sopel was the “clear favourite” to replace Laura Kuenssberg as political editor.

The role is considered the highest-profile reporting job on British television. Mr Sopel, 62, has worked at the BBC for almost 40 years and recently returned to the UK after leaving his post in the US.

He and Miss Maitlis are good friends and co-hosted the BBC’s hugely successful Americast podcast. Details of their new podcast will be announced later this year.

Global said yesterday that the pair would also provide “commentary and analysis” for LBC’s website.

The announcement sent shockwaves through the BBC’s news division.

A source said: ‘You could say it’s not much fun at the BBC at this level anymore and you could say there’s a lot going on outside, especially at LBC.’

A senior BBC News official said: “I think… Emily Maitlis wants to have a freer hand and I think Global will give her that.”

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