Essex MP facing sexual discrimination claim

An Essex MP facing a claim of sexual discrimination from a former employee has said he is confident the case will be thrown out.

AN ESSEX MP facing a claim of sexual discrimination from a former employee has said he is confident the case will be thrown out.

Bob Russell, the MP for Colchester, has been taken to an employment tribunal by former case worker John Scott who worked for him for a short period last year.

Mr Scott told an employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds yesterday he was pursuing a breach of contract claim against the Liberal Democrat MP because he had been a victim of sexual discrimination.

Part of his claim also alleges he was dismissed from his role at Mr Russell’s office for whistle blowing although specific details of the case have yet to be heard in public.


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Mr Russell is denying the claims and said allegation of discrimination was “like accusing a vicar of not being a Christian”.

It is understood Mr Scott’s case will claim he was dismissed from his job a because he was the only man other than Mr Russell in an all-female environment.

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However, Mr Russell’s solicitor, Jayne Scott, told the hearing judge she believed Mr Scott’s allegations were “largely a smear campaign” against her high-profile client.

Mr Scott, who worked for the MP last year, told the tribunal Mr Russell had made “nasty” and “untrue” accusations about him in statements provided for the legal proceedings.

However, he was prevented from reading all of his witness statement after an application for an adjournment was made by Mrs Scott.

Mrs Scott told employment judge David Skinner the statement was “full of inaccuracies and falsehoods”.

She said the claims being made had “no reasonable prospect of success and therefore should be struck out.”

A decision was due by the end of yesterday’s hearing about whether the case would go to a full employment tribunal hearing but delays with the proceedings meant it had to be re-listed later this year.

Speaking afterwards Mr Russell said: “I have every confidence that the claim will be dismissed.

“I have spent 40 years of my life fighting discrimination, so to be accused of discrimination is less than fair.

He added the claim was “like accusing a vicar of not being a Christian”.

The case has been adjourned until October.

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