Arif Ansari, the political editor for the BBC in the North West, has taken a year’s unpaid sabbatical from the corporation to undertake a Master’s degree in London.

Ansari, who reports for North West Tonight and presents Sunday Politics NW, is to begin a course in war studies at King’s College London.

His job at the BBC is being kept open for Ansari to return next summer. In the interim, a replacement will be advertised for internally.

Brought up in Crosby and a Lancaster University graduate, Ansari started his career at BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City as a freelance journalist.

He went on to work at BBC Radio Stoke and the entertainment section of BBC News Online before joining BBC North West in 2008.

Ansari filed his last report for North West Tonight last night, reporting on the Star Trek exhibition in Blackpool.