The Racing Card

The Bet - Who will be the next political editor of ITN?

Adam Boulton 2-1
James Mates 3-1
Tom Bradby 9-2

Elinor Goodman 10-1
John Kampfner 50-1

(Source Ladbrokes)

As MPs arrived back in Westminster the parliamentary press lobby was awash with fresh gossip. This was not about who is trying (unsuccessfully) to smear the Chancellor, that's obvious, but who will get Michael Brunson's job when he retires later this year.

The top brass want James Mates to return from America to take up the post, but so far he has refused. Apparently he thinks the job has become nothing more than acting as Alastair Campbell's mouthpiece. The smart money is on Adam Boulton from Sky, widely regarded as the best of the bunch by other hacks. He denies that he wants the job, but friends say that if ITN can match his £200,000-plus salary he may be willing to move.

Posh-talking Tom Bradby, who was recently beaten up in East Timor, left Westminster for the Far East because he got all the dross jobs with Brunson in charge. Having had such a nasty shock abroad, he is thought to want to return to England. Elinor Goodman from Channel 4 is still smarting from the BBC's decision to appoint Robin Oakley as political editor rather than her and, although she is highly rated by No 10, ITN seems to have a problem promoting a woman to the top job.

The obvious candidate is Jo Andrews, the senior political correspondent, who would be more than a match for Campbell's bullying tactics, as would Lauren Taylor. The problem is they are women, and the parliamentary press gallery is one of Britain's last bastions of sexism. The big outsider for the job is John Kampfner from the BBC, who is only in the frame because he applies for every job going.

Charlie Whelan

This article first appeared in the 17 January 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The plot to keep us puffing