'Stella wants money but I won’t give into blackmail': Lord Sugar loses his 'cool' in attack on Apprentice winner who 'thought she would get pay off to avoid a tribunal'
Lord Sugar told tribunal that Apprentice winner's claims are 'blunt lies'He branded Stella English, who won 100,000 role in 2010, 'suspicious and untrusting'Millionaire accuses 34-year-old of trying to extract money from him
Contestant claims she was an 'overpaid lackey' and 'there was no job'
14:16 GMT, 7 March 2013
00:44 GMT, 8 March 2013
His volcanic boardroom rants are the reason millions have tuned in to watch eight series of The Apprentice.
But Lord Sugar’s eruptions aren’t just for the cameras.
The tycoon showed yesterday why he is known as ‘Britain’s most belligerent boss’ when he lost his cool during a bitter tribunal battle with a former winner of his show, Stella English.
Stella English, pictured arriving for the third day the tribunal, was accused by Sir Alan Sugar of being 'suspicious' and 'untrusting'
In furious exchanges, he said her attempts to prove constructive dismissal were a ‘scam’ and ‘tantamount to blackmail’ because she was ‘desperate for money’.
Banging his fists on the table and jabbing his finger, he claimed the 34-year-old was ‘deluded’ in the hope that he might have settled the case rather than give evidence.
‘I contend that I’m insulted and disappointed that I’m being paid back and having to come here and humiliate myself in front of the national media,’ he said. ‘But I’m here because I have principles and I’m not just going to pay off people.
‘When her instructing solicitor heard my name it must have been, “Ding, ding, ding – jackpot. Oh Lord Sugar, he’ll never turn up, he’s never going to give evidence”.
‘This is a scam. This is an abuse of the tribunal system.’
Several times during the hearing the millionaire was told to keep his temper by Miss English’s lawyer, Philippa Jackson. At one point, she said: ‘You don’t have to point your finger. Stop pointing your finger, Lord Sugar. I suggest to you that you have lost your cool in the tribunal today.’
He replied: ‘I think you’re deliberately trying to excite me. Better people than you have tried and you’re failing miserably.’
He added: ‘Well that’s me. That’s who I am. I’ve lost my cool a little bit more today than I usually do. I get very angry when people bring derisory actions against me, I’m afraid to say. I’m not going to succumb to what is tantamount to blackmail. To pay your client lots of money, with her solicitor hearing my name and seeing pound signs, hearing ‘kerching’ signs come up.
Stella English who described the 100,000-a-year job she was given by Lord Sugar as that of an 'overpaid lackey'
‘I’m here because I believe I have no case to answer and because I trust in the tribunal system and I’m here because I believe this is a classic abuse of the tribunal system.’
Miss English is suing Lord Sugar over her failure to keep the 100,000-a-year job she was handed as a prize for winning The Apprentice in 2010.
She claims the job with his IT subsidiary Viglen turned out to be a ‘sham’ and said she was treated as an ‘overpaid lackey’.
But Lord Sugar insisted he was under no obligation to give her meaningful employment, saying: ‘I could have given her a broom and said, “Clean the floor” if I wanted.’ He claims Miss English’s case is supported by a ‘pack of lies’ and her evidence was ‘absolute garbage.’
However, the tycoon did admit yesterday that he told the mother of two ‘I don’t give a s***’ when she complained about her employment in September 2011.
At the east London hearing, he said the words were taken ‘out of context’.
‘I don’ give a s*** is part of my repertoire,’ he said. ‘I would say that, there’s no question of that. I might say that sentence.
‘But you have to take that in the context in which I said it. What is it I don’t give a s*** about
‘They [the media] would have it I don’t give a s*** about The Apprentice, but I don’t give a s*** about what the media think.’ The tribunal continues.
Lord Alan Sugar said that his former employee's claims were 'blunt lies' and accused her of trying to extract money from him
Lord Sugar met his former employee Stella English (second from left, front row) on the series that was aired in 2010 – but now she is suing him