BBC Daily Politics editor Robbie Gibb to join No 10

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Robbie Gibb

The head of the BBC’s Westminster political programmes team has been named as Prime Minister Theresa May’s new director of communications.

Robbie Gibb, who has been at the corporation for 23 years, replaces Katie Perrior, who quit before the general election.

He was an adviser to Michael Portillo before joining the BBC.

He tweeted it had been “a privilege to work for the BBC “and he would “always be a supporter” of the corporation.

The BBC’s director of news, James Harding, said: “Robbie has deployed his renowned organisational skills, political acumen and editorial creativity to the benefit of the BBC on countless occasions.

“From the precision of the Daily Politics, Sunday Politics, This Week and The Andrew Marr Show – including special Budget programmes – to that historic moment of the Wembley Arena debate last June: the broadcasting highlight of the EU Referendum campaign.

“Before that Robbie spent time as Deputy Editor at Newsnight, a senior producer at On The Record and deputy head of the Political Research Unit.

“Robbie always has an eye to the interests of our audiences, he has been an innovator in story-telling on television and an unrelenting advocate of the BBC, its independence and our public service role.

“The signal quality he and his programmes have shown is the willingness to speak truth to power – I suspect it will come in handy.”

Following reports that he had been interviewed for the job, the BBC’s diplomatic editor James Landale tweeted that he had been asked to consider it but decided not to apply.

Former PR executive Katie Perrior resigned as Theresa May’s director of communications when the PM called a snap general election in April. She went on to criticise Mrs May’s closest advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who were forced to stand down when the PM lost her majority.

Her predecessor in the Downing Street communications role, Sir Craig Oliver, was also poached from the BBC, where he was editor of the Ten O’Clock News.

In the 1990s, Robbie Gibb was chief of staff to senior Conservative MP Francis Maude, as well as the spell as an adviser to Michael Portillo. His brother is the Conservative MP Nick Gibb.

The position of Downing Street director of communications, which was first held by Alastair Campbell under Labour PM Tony Blair, has normally been held by an ex-newspaper or TV journalist.

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