Sussex

Tory MP Huw Merriman faces harassment claim

Huw Merriman Image copyright Conservative Party/PA
Image caption MP Huw Merriman claims "nothing sexual transpired" between him and Ms Campbell

A married Conservative MP has been accused of harassing a former colleague when they worked at a London bank.

Solicitor Patronia Campbell claims she shunned Huw Merriman's sexual advances 18 months after a one night stand, a tribunal heard.

Ms Campbell alleges she was unfairly dismissed when she was made redundant from Lehman Brothers in 2014.

Mr Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle and a former Lehman's Brothers manager, denies anything sexual happened.

Ms Campbell is also bringing a case for harassment and victimisation against Mr Merriman, Lehman Brothers International and another managing director, Tim Parsons.

'In his pants'

The East London Employment Tribunal heard how one night in June 2011, Ms Campbell asked her friend, Simon Carter, if Mr Merriman could stay on his sofa.

She was staying at Mr Carter's East London address while her home was renovated, the panel heard.

In a statement, Mr Carter said: "I met Mr Merriman briefly, offered him a glass of wine, chatted for a while then went to bed."

He said Ms Campbell and Mr Merriman were drunk and cooked something to eat.

He said it was clear the two spent the night together and the next morning Mr Merriman emerged from the bathroom "sheepishly" in his pants.

After he left, Mr Carter said Ms Campbell admitted he had stayed in her bed.

'Nothing sexual'

The tribunal heard it was unlike Ms Campbell to have a "casual fling" but that she told Mr Carter she and Mr Merriman had a brief relationship some years back.

Ms Campbell claims that 18 months later - at a work Christmas party in 2012 - Mr Merriman insinuated he wanted a sexual relationship.

She claims she turned him down and that he began criticising and harassing her.

Mr Merriman denies the one night stand but accepts he went to Mr Carter's house because he had missed the last train.

The tribunal heard he claims "nothing sexual transpired" between him and Ms Campbell.

The tribunal continues.