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Lord Sugar feels 'wronged' by former Thamesmead Apprentice winner Stella English
LORD Sugar feels "wronged" by a former Apprentice winner from Thamesmead who he believes is trying to damage his reputation, an employment tribunal has heard.
Stella English, 34, is suing the peer for constructive dismissal and claims she was treated as an "overpaid lackey" after being handed a £100,000 contract for winning series six of the BBC1 show in 2010.
But Lord Sugar told the East London Tribunal Centre today he has no case to answer and Ms English is effectively blackmailing him.
Giving legal submissions today, Lord Sugar's representative Seamus Sweeney said: "The claimant has, in the eyes of Lord Sugar, deliberately courted the media with a view of damaging his reputation."
He said the former Bexley College pupil had "sold her story" to the press several times and accused her of being a "headline-grabber", deliberately sensationalising aspects of her evidence.
Referring to yesterday's sentencing of former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, Mr Sweeney said Lord Justice Sweeney - who is no relation to him - described how Vicky Pryce used the media as a weapon.
He told the tribunal the same was true of Ms English, adding: "Using the media, in this case, was a weapon of choice.
“It was a first weapon of choice.
"On the contrary, Lord Sugar has maintained his position, his dignity, until he comes here.
“He can be forgiven in these circumstances for reacting passionately in his cross-examination because he feels wronged."
Lord Sugar, who gave evidence to the hearing last week, had admitted losing his cool when questioned about what he described as "derisory actions".
Philippa Jackson, representing Ms English, said Lord Sugar was "angry" at being sued, having publicly denounced "claim culture" during the tribunal.
She said: "He's not going to be seen to be backing down.
“He doesn't think much of employees running off and complaining - they should get on with it."
The hearing has finished and the tribunal will make its decision within a month.
If there is to be a remedy hearing it will take place on April 22 depending on the verdict.