Tory MP must pay secretary hit by job axe

A high-flying Tory MP has been ordered to pay compensation to a former member of staff she sacked from her constituency office.

Claire Perry, an aide to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, terminated the employment of Penelope Nurick following a staff reshuffle.

An employment tribunal found that Mrs Perry, the MP for Devizes in Wiltshire, unfairly dismissed Mrs Nurick from her role as a part-time constituency secretary. Mrs Perry was ordered to pay her a total of £1,296.88, including £664.59 in compensation.

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Mrs Nurick was dismissed in February when Mrs Perry, 48, replaced her with another employee.

Mrs Perry told a tribunal in Bristol that she was forced to replace Mrs Nurick after senior advisor Christopher Jones left his job in November 2011.

The MP said she was unable to replace Mr Jones and so decided to split his job role between her London and Devizes offices.

“It was clear from our early experiences that she (Mrs Nurick) would struggle with more responsibility,” Mrs Perry told the hearing, which was held in September.

“The claimant required a lot of managing and support, particularly in the IT area, and all of this led me to believe that this would not be something she would be able to do, she would be incapable.”

Finding in Mrs Nurick’s favour, employment judge Jenny Mulvaney said: “It was conceded by the respondent that the dismissal of the claimant by reason of redundancy was unfair and so I find.”