A woman from Wendron who suffers from a form of dwarfism last week lost her bid to bring a discrimination case against the Labour Party.

Helen Garrod, 31, who lives with her parents at Merther Uny Farm, Treloquithack, said she was "devastated" her claim, that the party had acted illegally by discriminating against her because she had dystrophic dwarfism, would not be heard by an employment tribunal.

Ms Garrod, who is 3ft 3ins tall and uses an electric wheelchair, told the tribunal in London she suffered severe psychological problems after her application to work for Tony Blair's 1997 General Election campaign team was rejected.

She was told her case would not be heard because it was four and half years before she lodged a complaint with the tribunal. Discrimination cases must usually be lodged within three months.

The tribunal rejected Ms Garrod's claim she had delayed bringing proceedings because she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The tribunal heard that in 1997 Ms Garrod, who was "highly ambitious" and had a politics and history degree, was the deputy editor of Progress, a magazine for Labour modernisers set up by Derek Draper, a former aide to Peter Mandelson.

Ms Garrod alleged that her colleague, the magazine's editor Kate Dixon, was given a job on the campaign leader's press staff while she was turned down, following a joint application, even though Mr Draper had recommended them both.

Anji Hunter, Mr Blair's then personal assistant, rejected Ms Garrod's application in January 1997.

Ms Garrod described her rejection as a "nuclear bomb" and as an astonishing coincidence, but said it was a mere month after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act that the incident took place.

She said she became suicidal after her sense of identity was crushed as a result of the alleged discrimination.

She claimed he had been so traumatised she was unable to watch or read any coverage of the 1997 campaign and suffered "mental blackouts", anxiety and depression.

Ms Garrod did not act on the alleged incident immediately, and said she had been torn between her loyalty to Labour and distress at the way the party had treated her.

In a letter before the tribunal panel, Ms Hunter said she had never met Ms Garrod and her decision "had absolutely nothing to do with discrimination" but the fact that there was no job suitable.

Tribunal chairwoman Elizabeth Potter said a unanimous decision had been made that Ms Garrod could not bring her case.

"We are not persuaded there is medical expert evidence showing it was not possible for the applicant to bring her claim earlier," she said.

After the case, Ms Garrod, who is still a Labour member and had pledged to give any damages back to the party, minus her legal fees, said: "I am angry and devastated, but I'm not going to appeal.

"I still feel loyal to the Labour Party and I hope that I can try and put this behind me. I couldn't have brought this case any earlier than I did."