MP Cleared In Sexual Harrassment Case

A Conservative MP has spoken of his family's relief after their lesbian housekeeper had her case for sexual harassment and unfair dismissal unanimously thrown out.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax wept as the decision of an employment tribunal was reached yesterday and said afterwards that the claims had been ``extremely stressful'' for his family.

Employment judge Roger Peters told the employment tribunal in Southampton that the events described by Anne Lyndoe-Tavistock ``did not happen''.

Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock, who has waived her right to anonymity, alleged that Mr Drax and his wife Elsebet sexually touched her and she fled.

But the panel of three did not believe her, saying that she had acted normally after the alleged incident and not confided in anyone, as they would have expected.

The MP and his wife denied all the allegations and Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock's claims of sexual harassment, unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and unpaid holiday pay were all dismissed

Mr Peters said Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock's allegation that Mr Drax and his wife tried to silence her two weeks after the alleged incident was ``utterly incredible''.

``The event did not happen. There was no attempt to silence the claimant. The claim fails and is dismissed.''

Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock's solicitor Dawn Gallie said her client was sorry about the tribunal's decision and she would consider an appeal.

During the three-day hearing, the estranged partner of Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock said she had already exaggerated claims that she was touched on the breast by a male colleague at a previous employer to get money.

She said in a statement to the hearing: ``I believe she (Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock) has concocted the allegations in her claim form to cause embarrassment to (the couple) and their family in the expectation that she will receive a financial settlement.''

Jo Lyndoe-Tavistock also said that the woman ``provided false information'' to the previous employment tribunal.

She said: ``She said she had exaggerated the claims to include some kind of sexual act - he had touched her breasts - and that was not really what had happened.''

The woman received a payment of nearly £16,000 after the tribunal found in her favour, the hearing was told.

Jo Lyndoe-Tavistock said the politician and his wife were good employers who had been courteous to the claimant and to her, and she had no problems with them.

She described her former partner as ``aggressive'' and liable to displays of ``erratic behaviour'', and said she had fallen out with other colleagues at other jobs over the years.

Ms Lyndoe-Tavistock alleged that weeks after the alleged touching incident she was abruptly asked to move out of the house and given £300 in cash, which she felt gave her no choice but to resign.

The couple maintained throughout that she quit after they informed her that disciplinary proceedings were being brought against her because of her dealings with other members of staff and they acted properly.

In a statement with his wife by his side, Mr Drax said yesterday: ``We welcome the decision of the tribunal today. We have strenuously denied the allegations over many months.

``We are grateful that the employment tribunal has properly and carefully considered the allegations and concluded they were all untrue.

``These allegations have been extremely stressful for my wife and I, and my children and my family. We are now relieved that we can put this behind us.''

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