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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Apprentice contender Katie fired
Katie Hopkins
Katie Hopkins became the first candidate to step down
Katie Hopkins, a contender on BBC One's The Apprentice, has been fired from her real job, her employer has confirmed.

The Met Office, where the 31-year-old worked as a brand consultant, said she failed to pass a probationary period.

A spokesman would not comment on reports that she was fired because of her conduct on the show, but said it was an aspect of her review.

Katie was offered a place in the final, but stood down after being unable to commit to a possible move to London.

After bowing out of the contest, she sold her story to a Sunday newspaper, giving intimate details of her love life.

The mother of two from Exeter took unpaid leave from her job to take part in the BBC One show, the Met Office said.

Simon Ambrose and Kristina Grimes
Simon Ambrose and Kristina Grimes are this year's finalists
Its spokesman also denied reports that Katie was earning 90,000 as a brand manager for the organisation.

Katie's spokeswoman confirmed to the BBC that she was considering taking the Met Office to a tribunal over the decision.

Katie also admitted during last week's episode that she lied and cheated "to get someone else's husband because I wanted him", and gave herself eight out of 10 for ruthlessness.

The Apprentice sees 16 contestants battling it out for the prized 100,000 job working for businessman Sir Alan Sugar.

Viewers of the show will find out which of the two finalists, Kristina Grimes, 36, and Simon Ambrose, 27, has won on Wednesday night.

Simon, from south London, said he did not approve of recent tabloid revelations about Katie's private life.

"I come from a broken home and I didn't appreciate Katie's actions," he said.

It's a bit of a sideshow that's gone on which is unnecessary and superfluous
Simon Ambrose
"I didn't think it should be something that is congratulated. My parents split up when I was three. It was quite a tough, arduous childhood for myself and my sister. I don't think sleeping with married men is a good idea."

He said the recent focus on Katie "lowered the tone of the programme", adding: "We've been trying to keep it as serious as possible.

"It's a bit of a sideshow that's gone on which is unnecessary and superfluous. She'd make an excellent teacher.

"She's a fantastic consultant, a good presenter, she's well thought out. Would she have been a good apprentice? I don't think so."

'Not thick'

Irish-born Kristina, from Harrogate, said she and Simon appeared on the show "to portray our success as business people, nothing else".

"Did Katie bow out of the final?" she asked. "I don't think she did. Sir Alan forced her.

"She knew what was coming. She's not thick. She would have eventually got the axe."

Katie, 31, joined The Met Office - the weather information service - in September 2006.

The Met Office, which is part of the civil service, was "quite unique" in still having probationary periods for new members of staff, the spokesman added.

The probation period takes work performance into account as well as conduct.

Employees can expect to be on probation for a year, but the organisation retains the right to terminate their employment at any point during this period.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Katie Hopkins talks to Radio 1's Newsbeat



SEE ALSO
10 things about the apprentices
07 Jun 07 |  Magazine
Sugar picks Apprentice finalists
07 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Apprentice gets two more series
18 May 07 |  Entertainment
First Apprentice winner quits job
21 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Back in Apprentice's firing line
20 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Apprentice winner quits prize job
29 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

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