Kirsty Wark is set to step down from Newsight after 30 years, as cuts loom over the long-running programme.

The presenter, who joined the show in 1993, announced her departure three decades to the day since her first broadcast.

She said it would be a “massive wrench” to leave the show after next year’s general election, and that working on it had been an “enormous privilege”.

Ms Wark will continue to work for the BBC after leaving Newsnight, presenting programmes such as The Reunion and Start The Week.

Announcing her departure on Thursday, she said: “Today I am celebrating 30 years presenting Newsnight. It is an enormous privilege to be involved in such a rigorous, creative programme with a wonderful, talented, bunch of colleagues – actually many bunches over the years, led, most recently by Esme Wren, followed by Stewart Maclean.

“There’s not a day when I don’t look forward to coming to the office, and every day I learn something from the team about all manner of things, from aspects of American foreign policy to how to make a great mojito.

“Last year, I spoke to both the director-general Tim Davie, and to Stewart, and signalled my desire to end my three-decade run on the show after the next election, and that’s the plan.”

‘Huge amount of uncertainty’

The news of Ms Wark’s departure comes after Stewart Maclean, the programme’s current editor, announced that he was quitting and would be moving to a new BBC role in Africa.

Mr Maclean said in an email to his colleagues that it was a “stressful” time for staff at Newsnight, which faces rumoured cuts of £5 million from its £8 million budget.

He wrote: “I’m acutely aware of how stressful the last few weeks have been for our team amid speculation about proposed changes to the programme.

“I know there’s a huge amount of uncertainty and I’m sorry to be signalling my departure at a time of such instability.”

Rumours of planned cuts emerged against a backdrop of shrinking audience numbers, and greater difficulty in justifying the licence fee amid growing competition from digital rivals like Netflix.

More than one million people tuned in for Jeremy Paxman’s final Newsnight show, but the programme’s average audience has fallen from 565,000 in 2020 to 365,000.

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