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BBC equal pay inquiry is a whitewash, says ex-editor

Strength in numbers: Samira Ahmed (centre) with Carrie Gracie (right) at her employment tribunal PICTURE: LNP

JOURNALIST Carrie Gracie has branded a watchdog’s investigation into pay discrimination at the BBC a ‘whitewash’ after it found nothing illegal.

The broadcaster’s former China editor spoke out after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said, after examining ten cases from 2017 to 2019, ‘the processes, if not the outcomes, let women down’ but did not find any breaches of the law.

Ms Gracie resigned from her post in 2018 in protest at pay inequalities. She received an apology and back pay.

She tweeted: ‘Report on BBC equal pay feels like whitewash. Examined just 10 cases … Seriously? Follow the ££ instead. BBC forced to pay out to hundreds of BBC women. Moral of story — don’t rely on regulator but stay strong, calm, united and justice will prevail.’

Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed won a sex discrimination equal pay claim against the corporation and radio presenter Sarah Montague received £400,000 and an apology.

BBC Women, a group of more than 150 broadcasters and producers, was ‘deeply disappointed by the findings’ and vowed to ‘fight on’.

The EHRC’s head of enforcement, Joanna Gregson, said, despite finding no pay discrimination in ‘the details we looked at, that’s not to say it didn’t happen elsewhere (at the BBC)’.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, its chief executive, said women had ‘suffered’ at the BBC but the watchdog was very confident in its ‘robust findings’. BBC director-general Tim Davie, who has told MPs 20 gender discrimination cases are outstanding, said it accepted the report’s findings and would implement its recommendations.

He noted the EHRC ‘made no unlawful findings against the BBC’ and recognised pay practises had improved.