Belfast Telegraph

Emily Maitlis: My heart goes out to Samira Ahmed

The Newsnight presenter spoke on Good Morning Britain.

Emily Maitlis has voiced her support for Samira Ahmed in her equal pay fight (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Emily Maitlis has voiced her support for Samira Ahmed in her equal pay fight (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Emily Maitlis has said her “heart goes out” to colleague Samira Ahmed during her employment tribunal.

The Newsnight presenter voiced her support for the Newswatch host, who is pursuing an equal pay complaint against the BBC.

Maitlis said the issue of pay equality is not confined to the BBC and is an international problem.

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Samira Ahmed arrives at the Central London Employment Tribunal, where she is pursuing an equal pay complaint against the BBC (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ahmed claimed during her tribunal that she was paid “a sixth” of what Jeremy Vine earned while he was presenting Points Of View.

Maitlis, speaking on Good Morning Britain, said salary issues are not limited to Vine, or the much-discussed earnings of Gary Lineker, and that broader injustices should be tackled.

She said: “As somebody who’s been in a similar position, my heart goes out to her.

“I think it’s a really important thing that she’s doing, fighting for other people who’ve got unjust and unequal imbalances.”

She added: “Presumably it is a nationwide or an international problem that we’re all trying to understand and get to grips with, and whether we need more transparency or not is clearly the big issue.”

Maitlis said Ahmed would not have chosen to take her complaint to a tribunal immediately, and believes broadcasters need to look at equalising the pay between those deemed entertainers and those involved in news.

The Newsnight host said: “I don’t think it’s a Jeremy Vine problem. I think, from what I understand, Samira has gone to a tribunal – anyone who goes to a tribunal does not do so willingly.

“They don’t do it because it’s their first recourse. They do it because they’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked.

“I do think one of the things that’s thrown up is the difference between news and entertainment.

“It would be nice to have those two recognised equally.”

She added: “The Gary Lineker thing is very different because you have been an expert in your field.”

Maitlis’s book, Airhead: The Imperfect Art Of Making News, is being adapted into a TV series, but she does not yet know which actress will take the starring role.

Asked who she would prefer to play her, Maitlis said: “I love Carey Mulligan, I love Jessie Buckley.”

PA

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