BBC attempting to woo Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis with ‘increased pay offer’

The presenter at the centre of the BBC gender pay gap row has been out of contract for weeks – and the Corporation is determined not to lose her

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Emily Maitlis, the Newsnight presenter caught up in the storm over the gender pay gap at the BBC, is being wooed with an improved pay offer to avoid the embarrassment of her leaving the Corporation, RadioTimes.com has learned.

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Maitlis is currently out of contract and several senior sources have told RadioTimes.com that the BBC is determined not to lose the services of one of its star female presenters.

According to one source, the offer has been increased dramatically in the wake of Wednesday’s revelations about the male-female disparity in salaries among the Corporation’s biggest stars.

“The BBC is determined not to lose her – that would be highly toxic in the current climate,” said the source. “I wouldn’t say they are panic throwing money at her but let’s say she is in a strong negotiating position.”

Following the disclosures made on Wednesday under the terms of the new BBC charter, Maitlis was not on the list of 96 stars earning £150,000 or more – so she has been taking home a good deal less than many of her male colleagues.

These include John Humphrys who earned between £600,000 and £649,999 in the year to April 2017 according to BBC figures, News at Ten newsreader Huw Edwards, just behind him in the £550,000 – £599,999 bracket and Today presenter Nick Robinson on £250,000 – £299,999.

Fellow Today broadcaster Sarah Montague is not on the list of BBC stars earning more than £150,000, while her colleague Mishal Husain earns between £200,000 and £249,000.

Maitlis reportedly hit back at BBC bosses with a well-aimed joke during a speech at a tech industry dinner, telling the audience: “You’re doing so well, soon you’ll be able to afford a BBC man.”

Alex Armitage, her agent, tweeted to say her exclusion from the list was “beyond madness and being dealt with”.

A BBC management source insisted that the current negotiations with Maitlis were unrelated to yesterday’s disclosures and had been “going on for several weeks”.

A source close to Maitlis said the presenter hoped that the issue could be sorted out “calmly”. Her agent did not respond to inquiries from RadioTimes.com.

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The BBC said in a statement: “Emily is one of the brightest stars in British journalism. Emily has been off rota for several weeks now while we negotiate a new contract and we hope to reach an agreement soon.”