The Tories have been hit by fresh bullying claims after a recording of Telford MP Lucy Allan ranting at one of her former staffers emerged. The 51-year-old, who has also been accused of fabricating a death threat, is apparently heard describing the caseworker as "pathetic" and suggesting the young staffer has an "alcohol problem".
The series of phone call recordings, which were obtained by The Evening Standard, also seem to document Allan threatening to sack Arianne Plumbly, 26, after she requested to take four weeks off on her doctor's advice.
"Right. I'm not paying you for that then. It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. Who do you think you are? You are on a temporary contract," Allan is heard saying. "You are not protected by the law. You do not have 12 months service. What are you playing at? If you sign yourself off sick for four months the only option will be to dismiss you."
Allan, in a statement to the Standard, said: "Plumbly was dismissed from her employment with Lucy Allan, MP in Telford, after four months' employment, for gross misconduct following misuse of the Parliamentary email system, persistent unauthorised absenteeism, refusal to follow a reasonable instruction and rudeness to residents."
But the former caseworker, who also served as Allan's campaign manager in the run-up to the general election, strongly denied any allegations of theft or alcoholism and said she notified the MP of absences via text message.
A Conservative spokesperson said: "As soon as these complaints were made they were dealt with appropriately and sympathetically." Allan had not responded to a request for comment from IBTimes UK at the time of publication.
The allegations come as law firm Clifford Chance continues its investigation into the bullying claims levelled against so-called "Tatler Tory" Mark Clarke. The Road Trip founder, 38, was named in the suicide letter of the Conservative activist Elliot Johnson.
Clarke has denied the allegations but the Tories have banned him from the party for life. Former Conservative co-chairman Grant Shapps also resigned from the government over the scandal.