Al Jazeera English has announced today that leading British political journalist and commentator Mehdi Hasan is joining its ranks.

He will host the channel's new series of The Cafe, its global talk show set in local coffee shops around the world featuring roundtables with national leaders, experts and activists. In its first series last year, The Cafe held discussions in Cairo, Nairobi, Sarajevo and Mumbai.

Mehdi Hasan is the senior editor for politics at the New Statesman magazine in London and is a former news-and-current affairs editor at Channel 4 television. He is a well-known TV pundit, and has been a guest radio presenter.

Mehdi is the biographer of Ed Miliband, the current leader of the British Labour Party, and a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Times newspapers. He previously worked as a producer on the Jonathan Dimbleby programme between 2003 and 2005 and has also produced interviews for Jeremy Vine and Adam Boulton.

Paul Eedle, Al Jazeera English's director of programmes, said: "Mehdi began his career in television, working on some of the very best British political talk show programmes, and is now well known as a commentator in his own right."

"He is a sharp interviewer and passionate debater who is not afraid to challenge conventional views - exactly what we value on Al Jazeera’s discussion programmes," Eedle added.

Mehdi Hasan said: "Al Jazeera English has unrivalled global reach in all its output and The Cafe is a great demonstration of that. I'm looking forward to the engagement with our guests and audiences from across the world."

The Cafe's new series will be starting in July 2012.