Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Saturday, 27 December 2008

Stourton reaches deal with Today

Edward Stourton
Stourton said he had reached an agreement "after a difficult few days"

Broadcaster Edward Stourton has said he will still be heard "from time to time" on the Today programme despite being dropped as a presenter by BBC Radio 4.

He has reached an agreement meaning he can "go back to covering stories rather than being one, which I have to say I did not enjoy one little bit".

Stourton heard from another journalist, rather than from his bosses, that he was being sacked, sparking criticism.

Dozens of listeners complained and 82 MPs demanded that he was reinstated.

"I am happy to say that after a difficult few days, the BBC and I have agreed that I will continue to broadcast on Radio 4, which I love doing.

"I will still be appearing on this programme from time to time," he told listeners of Saturday's edition of Today.

Sacking 'deplored'

Earlier this month, the 51-year-old described how he felt "winded" after picking up a message on his mobile phone asking whether he was being sacked.

He also criticised the BBC's decision to issue a press release stating he would be working "on other projects" after his departure next September, saying there were "no other projects".

Carolyn Quinn, Edward Stourton, John Humphrys, Sarah Montague, James Naughtie
Stourton (second left) has been part of Today's presentation team since 1999
The award-winning presenter, who is in his 10th year on the Today programme, has previously been the BBC's Paris correspondent and hosted the One O'Clock News on BBC One from 1993 to 1999.

He is to be replaced on Today by Justin Webb, currently the BBC's Washington-based North America editor.

Listeners contacted the BBC to express their anger at the news of Stourton's sacking.

And an Early Day Motion - effectively a call for a debate in the Commons - put forward by Labour MP Keith Vaz, was signed by 82 MPs.

It stated that its backers "deplored" the decision to drop Stourton and demanded an investigation by the chairman of the BBC Trust into Radio 4's conduct towards Stourton.

It also questioned why BBC managers were getting rid of Stourton when they were retaining Jonathan Ross as a presenter.

This was a reference to the furore over the obscene telephone call which Ross and fellow star Russell Brand made to actor Andrew Sachs on Radio 2.

This sparked 42,000 complaints and led to a three-month suspension for Ross and the resignation of Brand plus Radio 2's controller, Lesley Douglas.

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