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Emily Maitlis backs Samira Ahmed over BBC pay row

Support: Emily
Maitlis says her
‘heart goes out’
to Samira Ahmed PICTURE: REX

BBC presenter Emily Maitlis has said her ‘heart goes out’ to Samira Ahmed, who is battling the broadcaster over unequal pay.

The Newsnight anchor believes the issues thrown up by her colleague’s employment tribunal are not confined to the Beeb but are part of an international problem.

Ms Ahmed has said she was paid £440 an episode to host Newswatch on the BBC News Channel — ‘a sixth’ of what Jeremy Vine earned for ‘a very similar job’ presenting Points Of View on BBC1.

Big issue: Samira Ahmed PICTURE: PA

On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms Maitlis 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.

‘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.’

Ms Maitlis added: ‘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.’

Ms Maitlis also chatted on GMB about her book, Airhead: The Imperfect Art Of Making News.

It 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, she said: ‘I love Carey Mulligan, I love Jessie Buckley.’