Colchester: MP’s claims labelled “outrageous and contemptible” by former worker

A FORMER Inland Revenue manager sacked by his MP boss in the street late at night yesterday accused him of concocting “nasty stories” to explain the dismissal.

John Scott was given work as a part-time case officer job by Colchester MP Bob Russell last year.

But after working for the Liberal Democrat MP at his constituency office in Colchester for less than 100 hours, he was sacked in June last year.

Mr Scott, 65, of Ballast Quay in Fingringhoe, near Colchester, believes he was fired because he sent Mr Russell emails outlining complaints about the way he was being treated in the office.

He claims he was made to feel as though he did not exist by a volunteer who told constituents on the telephone that she did not have any case workers available - despite being sat opposite Mr Scott, a former Inland Revenue manager.

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He maintains Mr Russell did not deal with his concerns appropriately when he informed him of them and that he sexually descriminated against him.

Mr Russell, however, disputes the claims. He said the reason for the dismissal had nothing to do with the emails sent by Mr Scott, but with an incident in the office in which Mr Scott - with whom he had previously enjoyed a friendship of nearly 10 years - was “aggressive” to one of his female members of staff.

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However, the tribunal heard how Mr Scott had not been made aware of the allegation at the time and was initially told the reason for dismissal had been the “difficulty of adjusting from a managerial role to a non-managerial role”, difficult relations in the office which had left Mr Scott’s colleagues “considerably distressed” and a claim that it was “not possible” for Mr Scott to “integrate”.

Giving evidence at a pre-hearing review at the Employment Tribunal offices in Bury St Edmunds, Mr Russell said his worker Claire Beedell had telephoned him in a distressed state claiming Mr Scott had been aggressive.

He said he at no stage doubted Ms Beedell’s claims.

Days later Mr Scott was fired in person by Mr Russell - outside the Liberal Democrat offices in Wimpole Road at 10.15pm.

Explaining the manner of Mr Scott’s dismissal, Mr Russell, who had been in London on parliamentary duties earlier in the week, said: “That was the first available opportunity to severe the employment with immediate effect.

“I thought it was appropriate to do it man to man, face to face.”

Asked whether Mr Russell would have fired a female worker in a similar way, Mr Russell said he would have done.

Mr Scott yesterday accused Mr Russell of “inventing” a “nasty story”. He questioned why, if Mr Russell had concerns that Mr Scott had been aggressive, he had not been dismissed sooner by letter, telephone or email.

He said: “There’s no question at any time of my being violent to anybody.

He said Mr Russell’s testimony in the witness chair had been “disgraceful”, “rambling”, “outrageous and contemptible”.

The tribunal will now decide whether the case brought by Mr Scott can proceed to a full hearing. A written verdict is expected in due course.

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