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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK
Fired Katie in 'scapegoat' claim
Katie Hopkins
Katie Hopkins has hit back at the Met Office
Katie Hopkins, an ex-contender on The Apprentice, says she has been made a "scapegoat" after being fired for real.

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

Katie told BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat she was "very hurt". "I think they wanted the publicity and you have to accept there are two sides to that," she said.

She was offered a place in the final of the BBC One show, but stood down as she was unable to commit to moving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Its spokesman also denied reports that Katie was earning 90,000 as a brand manager for the organisation.

They (Met Office) didn't think about the fact that this is a reality show
Katie Hopkins

Katie told Newsbeat that the Met Office "didn't think it through" that her appearance on the show would create both positive and negative publicity.

"They didn't think about the fact that this is a reality show," she said.

"You are going to get loads of press and the people that let me go on the show wanted to cover their own backs and I have become, yet again, a scapegoat."

She added: "I am a single mother with two children and I need to make sure my home is secure.

"So it is actually quite a hard thing to face."

Simon Ambrose and Kristina Grimes
Simon Ambrose and Kristina Grimes are this year's finalists

The Met Office, which is part of the civil service, has 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.

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

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

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