A parliamentary worker’s behaviour towards a former Labour MP she has accused of sexual harassment “did not seem to marry up” with her allegations, a tribunal has heard.
The woman, known only as Ms A, claims Mike Hill conducted a campaign of sexual harassment and bullying against her over 16 months during his four-year stint in office.
But the ex-Hartlepool MP’s constituency office manager Janet Greig said the allegations appeared to be in contrast with how the claimant previously described him.
Giving evidence at the Central London Employment Tribunal on Tuesday, Mrs Greig said when she first met Ms A, the claimant had always been “very complimentary” about Mr Hill.
Mrs Greig said: “I could not connect the two – that she was saying in one breath that he was wonderful, a really good friend and that she trusted him.
“And then in the next breath saying he had been sexually harassing her. The two did not seem to marry up.”
The claimant’s barrister, Samuel Nicholls, asked her if she accepted that “victims of sex abuse” do not behave in a “uniform way”, to which Mrs Greig answered: “I’ve had no training, so I can’t comment either way on that.”
Ms A claims Mr Hill groped her and rubbed his penis against her body in his London flat.
Mr Hill denies the allegations.
The tribunal previously heard that Mr Hill said in text messages to the claimant he “craved” her body and was “in love” with her.
Asked about text messages sent by Mr Hill, Mrs Greig said: “When I became aware of these texts and recordings… I skipped through some of them and spoke to Mr Hill about them.
“I told him they were inappropriate. We discussed (them) at that point, not in-depth, but I did say what were you thinking of.
“I said if you were having a mid-life crisis, why didn’t he just go out and buy a sports car or get a tattoo, as most people do?”
Mrs Greig said she was unable to say if Mr Hill did anything “inappropriate” with the claimant as she was not there.
But she added: “What I can say from these tape recordings and these texts is that he had feelings for this person, he acted inappropriately in having this friendship with her, which his wife was not aware of.”
Mrs Greig said while Mr Hill had been “less than honest” with her, she did not see him as a “predator”.
Mr Hill was suspended from the Labour Party in September 2019 over the allegations but was reinstated in October of that year to fight the general election.
He resigned from his seat in March, triggering the by-election that saw the former red wall seat of Hartlepool swing dramatically to the Conservatives.
The tribunal, which is due to conclude this week, continues.