Iain Dale is to takeover the prestigious Drivetime show on radio station LBC 97.3 following the departure of current host James Whale.

Mr Dale, who is in a civil partnership, has previously hosted an evening programme with the station, the most listened to speech radio broadcaster in London.

Writing on his blog, Mr Dale describes how he learnt the news: “When James Rea, the Managing Editor of LBC opened the meeting by saying: ‘I think you have taken the evening show as far as you can,’ you can imagine that my heart slightly sank. Surely he wasn’t going to fire me, was he?

“Well no, he wasn’t. Quite the contrary. He then asked me to be the new presenter of LBC’s Drivetime show – and not only that, he wants the show to be four hours long instead of three.”

Referring to his former colleague, James Whale, who was only told yesterday that his contract would not be renewed, Mr Dale writes: “Any change in presenter is always difficult and James has a huge following, so I am well aware that I have big shoes to fill. All I ask is that those who are understandably lamenting James’s departure all over Twitter and elsewhere will have the good grace to give me a fair chance.”