The Londoner: New twist to the gender pay gap

Fighting the gap: Mary Nightingale with the ITV News team (Photo by Danny Martindale/ITN/WireImage): WireImage

ITN is taking the gender pay gap seriously by putting together a league of extraordinary women to discuss the problem and hammer out a strategy. Star names will include ITV News anchors Mary Nightingale and Romilly Weeks, both pictured right. But there is only room for one man.

Last week, ITN staff were alerted to the plan to tackle the discrepancy between the men and women across the channels. “A new cross-company working group has recently been formed to look at gender pay at ITN following the publication of the gender pay gap,” the correspondence reads. “The group will meet regularly to discuss and oversee ITN’s strategy for tackling the gap.”

As well as Nightingale and Weeks, the list includes Penny Marshall from ITV News, and Siobhan Kennedy and Nevine Mabro form Channel 4 News. Bella Barr and Cathy Jones are representing 5 News, and there is a cluster of internal stars in tech, production, human resources and communications. So who will head up this small army of equality-seeking women as the meeting’s chair? Oh look, it’s the man: ITN CEO John Hardie.

Hardie has come under flak for his handling of the gender pay gap. In March, he insisted “solving these long-term issues will not happen overnight but ITN is committed to tackling the root causes, in order to provide a culture in which everyone’s voice is heard and the path to the top is open to all.” Earlier this month, Hardie sent an email to staff promising he would “not receive a penny” of bonus pay unless he met “strict” gender and diversity targets.

His presence at the helm has annoyed some women. “Are we not trusted to run things?” an ITN staffer asks. Men too have expressed surprise at their mass absence on the list. “How is that equality?” An ITN source says the next meeting will be on May 1, and all ITN workers — both men and women — are encouraged to send in ideas.

Will Jeremy object to Sir Humphrey?

Sir Mark Sedwill is tipped to replace Sir Jeremy Heywood as Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service, but will Jeremy Corbyn object? Sir Mark was permanent secretary in Theresa May’s Home Office between February 2013 and April 2017 when the contentious immigration policy at the heart of the Windrush furore was passed. Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell voted against it. A Labour source won’t say whether they would oppose the appointment “yet”, just that “politicians not civil servants” are the current focus of blame.


Robert Harris has tried to keep Hitler behind the curtain in his new book, Munich. Why? Blame Steven Spielberg. “Hitler is the monster below the surface,” Harris tells Monocle Radio. “As in Jaws, the less often you see the shark, the more menacing the movie. So it is with Hitler: the less you see of him, the stronger the presence.”


After telling The Londoner last week he was “done with politics”, Nick Timothy has deleted his Twitter account. But fans will be relieved there is still a portal into his thoughts. Theresa May’s former chief of staff sends his Telegraph column to a “long” mailing list, some hand-picked by Nick, “even when we don’t want to get it”.

Stars head to the Brewery in tribute to unsung heroes behind the scenes

Craft Awards: Ophelia Lovibond (Photo Mike Marsland/WireImage) (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

The Brewery hosted a celebration of the backstage talent that makes our TV and film tick last night. The Bafta Craft Awards support the costume designers, make-up teams and editors but the on-screen actors who need them most were also on hand to lend some glamour to the occasion.

Poldark star Ellise Chappell, who plays Morwenna in the BBC series, was joined by Ophelia Lovibond in a dress woven with silver Celtic knots. Others who escaped the day’s beating heat included Kiran Sonia Sawar, who popped up in the fourth series of Black Mirror, and actor Mark Bonnar, who posed alongside Catastrophe writer-and-star Sharon Horgan.

One hopes that Bonnar, the decidedly cool Edinburgh-born actor who played a villainous cop in Line of Duty and morally dubious father in the BBC detective noir Shetland, did his bit to lower the temperatures.

He recently told an interviewer: “I do a good cold, hard stare.”


Sajid Javid’s foray into Brexit policy isn’t going to plan. Yesterday the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pictured, tweeted that Britain should leave the customs union. CBI president Paul Dreschler took the unusual step of replying: “An MP of your talent should rise above ideology and lead based on fact, analysis and evidence — all of which favours a customs union.” Chuka Umunna commented on Dreschler’s pop: “Quite unprecedented for this to happen.”


Kudos to all MPs who ran the marathon yesterday, including John Lamont, fastest parliamentarian at just over three and a half hours, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and Labour’s Jon Ashworth. But a special mention to Shabana Mahmood, the Birmingham Ladywood MP who was running for St Basil’s, the young homeless charity. She “took a tumble and [was] injured,” so finished just shy of eight hours.

Quote of the day

‘We have a very special relationship’ French President Emmanuel Macron, who starts a US state visit today, explains why he is known as the “Trump whisperer”

Equality rules in The Crown

Matt Smith has hinted that his co-star in The Crown, Claire Foy, may have received recompense for the gender pay gap between them. Foy played the Queen and Smith Prince Philip. “Claire is one of my best friends, and I believe we should be paid equally and fairly. There should be equality for all,” he said, adding: “I support her completely, and I’m pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that what’s needed to happen.” Resolved? Smith did not expand on how, and Netflix has yet to respond to our query.

Birthday girl: Nefer Suvio with husband Nick Rhodes (Photo Dave Benett/Getty Images) (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes toasted his wife Nefer Suvio’s birthday this weekend with a ball at the Palazzo Donà dalle Rose in Venice. I’d have thought he would have preferred Rio.