Presenter Suzanne Virdee leaves BBC Midlands Today

Suzanne Virdee
Image caption Suzanne Virdee said she was asked not to go to work after presenting Midlands Today for 11 years

BBC Midlands Today presenter Suzanne Virdee has left the corporation, it has been confirmed.

Ms Virdee has been working for the BBC for the past 11 years and became one of the show's main presenters in 2002.

She had previously worked for a number of newspapers in the region as well as for Central TV.

Ms Virdee has left after being offered a new five-month contract. A BBC spokesperson said they were sorry that the presenter had "decided to leave".

The corporation added: "We wish her all the best for the future."

In her statement released on Wednesday, Ms Virdee, 42, said it had been "a privilege" to bring news to the region where she was born.

Contract 'unfulfilled'

"I really am extremely grateful for that opportunity and the support I have had from viewers," she said.

She thanked her colleagues and co-presenter Nick Owen for their support during her time on the programme.

On Wednesday, she had confirmed that "due to circumstances beyond my control" she would leave the BBC on Friday.

"It is not possible for me to sign a proposed five-month contract and my final day presenting Midlands Today will be March 30, 2012," she said.

However, she has not been to work since and the Midlands Today representative for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has claimed the BBC told her not to fulfil her contract, because she had issued her statement to the press. The BBC has declined to comment on the matter.

Michele Paduano, a union leader for the Midlands Today NUJ branch, sent an email to 56 NUJ members earlier calling for a union meeting to discuss Ms Virdee's departure.

The email stated: "She has since been contacted and told that it would be better for all concerned for her not to fulfil her contract and present for the last two days of her contract.

"She is still being paid for her services for those two days."

'Deeply saddened'

In response, Ms Virdee issued a further statement that said: "I was surprised and deeply saddened to receive your call informing me that due to my press statement being issued you no longer wanted me to fulfil my contract and present my last two days at Midlands Today.

"Despite an extremely difficult time I would, as I have always done, have continued to present Midlands Today in a professional manner and without rancour. I note that you have said you will pay me as I have made myself available to work."

Before joining the BBC, Ms Virdee worked on the Central TV programme as well as for The Birmingham Mail and Sunday Mercury newspapers.

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