Former parliamentary assistant to BNP leader claims he was sacked after backing rival candidate
Now John Walker, from Mancot, who remains as press officer to the right-wing party’s other MEP Andrew Brons, has been told he can go ahead with his claim for unfair dismissal.
At a pre-hearing in Denbigh on Tuesday employment tribunal Judge John Hoult rejected a claim by Patrick Harrington, for the BNP, that the claim was vexatious and had no realistic chance of success.
But Mr Walker, who has since resigned from the party, was told he must pay a deposit of £175 if he wants to proceed with the case.
Mr Walker was dismissed as Mr Griffin’s assistant in August last year after a copy of an email he sent to the party leader expressing his support for Mr Brons was used on the party’s website.
Mr Harrington told the hearing it was made clear in Mr Walker’s contract he should not disclose sensitive political matters, but Mr Walker argued that the purpose of the website, which was set up with Mr Griffin’s blessing, was to promote discussion among members about changes to the constitution. It was therefore not confidential, as was claimed.
He said he was seen as a ‘political problem’, but while that may have affected his membership of the BNP it should not have affected his employment as assistant to Mr Griffin in his role as MEP.
Other employees, including Mr Harrington himself, were not party members, he said.
Asked by the judge why he had not attended a disciplinary meeting called by Adam Walker, the party’s staff manager, or appealed against his sacking, Mr Walker said: “I had no confidence in their process due to the party’s previous track record with employees.”
The judge said the only way to decide whether the document was indeed confidential and other key issues was for a full hearing.
From the Flintshire Chronicle. 26.01.2012. Report by Lois York