• Monday, August 08, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood unfairly dismissed aide who was his ex-girlfriend, tribunal rules

By: Shelbin MS

An employment tribunal ruled that Labour MP Khalid Mahmood had dismissed former aide Elaina Cohen ‘unfairly’, according to reports.

Senior adviser Cohen was dismissed a year after she raised serious concerns about alleged criminal behaviour by a work colleague, the tribunal heard.

Meanwhile, the 61-year-old lawmaker for Birmingham Perry Bar claimed that he dismissed her for ‘disrespecting and trying to intimidate him’.

Media reports said that Cohen branded her boss a ‘first class idiot’ in an email copied into Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

On Tuesday (2), the tribunal led by Employment Judge Adkin, ruled that the MP’s decision to sack Cohen amounted to unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

According to the panel, Cohen was ‘marginalised and isolated from January 2020 until her dismissal. It ordered Mahmood to pay her compensation, but the amount was reduced due to her behaviour. the MailOnline reported.

Cohen started to work for the MP in his House of Commons office in 2003. Later, they entered a ‘romantic relationship’ which ended in 2005. She continued her job but their relationship became increasingly ‘dysfunctional’ with multiple Whatsapp messages and emails exchanged.

In 2019, Cohen clashed with charity worker Saraya Hussain to whom Mahmood had given a parliamentary pass. A year later, Cohen met with Lozells resident Majid Khan and a woman, identified only as Victim A, who made a series of allegations about sexual exploitation, bullying and blackmail involving Hussain at the Amirah Foundation, a charity that was later shut down.

She reported this to West Midlands police but the investigation came to nothing. Following this, Cohen was excluded from parliamentary staff Zoom calls as the MP accused her of being ‘jealous’.

Their relationship deteriorated further, with Mahmood accused her of unprofessionalism and suggested her to go off sick from work.

The 71-page ruling detailed step by step accounts shared in writing and in person by Cohen and Mahmood during a four-day hearing.The tribunal examined over 1,200 pages of submissions and witness statements.

Mahmood was the first Muslim MP in Britain upon his election in 2001. He has held the Birmingham Perry Barr seat since then. He served on the Labour front bench as a shadow Foreign Office minister under leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Last year, he resigned from Sir Keir’s front bench as Shadow Minister for Defence. He welcomed Starmer to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.

Following the ruling, Mahmood said he was pleased with the outcome and thanked his team for their professionalism and support.

Birmingham Mail reported that a remedy hearing in this case will take place in September.

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