Today show fashion editor

Today show fashion editor

Fashion is best left to women while men are better at holding power to account, says BBC 4's Today Show editor amid gender row

  • Sarah Sands said John Humphrys is ‘person you want to hold power to account’
  • Said presenters Martha Kearney and Mishal Husain were ‘better on fashion’
  • Speaking on Radio 4’s Feedback to defend Today against recent criticism

Published: 01:34 BST, 7 July 2018 | Updated: 01:37 BST, 7 July 2018

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The editor of Radio 4’s Today programme has suggested her female hosts are ‘better on fashion’, while John Humphrys ‘holds power to account’ amid mounting tensions over the BBC’s gender row.

Sarah Sands described the Welsh broadcaster, who has been a presenter on the show since 1987, as ‘the person you want to hold power to account’. The 57-year-old added that presenters Martha Kearney and Mishal Husain were ‘on the whole slightly better on fashion’ out of her team of five hosts.

She was speaking on Radio 4’s Feedback yesterday to defend Today against recent criticism of its tone and content. Sands was played clips from listeners lamenting Humphrys’ contribution.

Sarah Sands, the editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, has suggested her female hosts are ‘better on fashion’, whereas John Humphrys ‘holds power to account’

She said: ‘What he has particularly is a quality of holding power to account, and in the turbulent times we are in that couldn’t be more important. We have five presenters, they all have different strengths.’

Laughing, she added: ‘I think, on the whole, Mishal and Martha might be slightly better on fashion.’

She described the team as a whole as ‘first rate’. However, Sands, a former editor of the London Evening Standard who became editor of Today last year, was criticised on social media.

One listener went on Twitter to describe her comments about women presenters as ‘stupid’.

She said: ‘What [Humphrys (pictured)] has particularly is a quality of holding power to account, and in the turbulent times we are in that couldn’t be more important. We have five presenters, they all have different strengths'

Another said: ‘Did I hear correctly? Sarah Sands laughingly admits that her female presenters are better at fashion, but she likes to leave the heavyweight subjects to John Humphrys. Really??’

Her comments come after months of controversy over the gender gap in pay at the BBC.

Some of the corporation’s best-known women stars have spoken publicly about their outrage after it was revealed the pay of male hosts far exceeded that of female colleagues.

Sarah Montague, who had fronted the flagship Radio 4 show for 17 years, resigned last year amid increasing tensions over the issue.

Humphrys is among a number of high-profile male presenters to have accepted a pay cut. 

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