Tories Could Face By-Election After Parliament Votes To Suspend MP For Bullying And Sexual Misconduct
Peter Bone has been the MP for Wellingborough since 2005 (Alamy)
MPs have voted in Parliament to uphold sanctions against MP Peter Bone, who was found by the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) to have committed "many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a staff member.
No division of votes was needed in the House of Commons as Bone's suspension was confirmed by several "ayes" in the chamber and no shouts of "no".
Bone will be suspended from the Commons for six weeks as a result, which will trigger a recall petition under the Recall of MPs Act 2015, therefore likely triggering a by-election in his Wellingborough constituency before the next general election, which must be called before the end of 2024. It could be the eighth by-election held just this year.
The panel described the incidents as a "serious case of misconduct", which took place between 2012 and 2013.
The complainant had originally reported the issue to the Conservative Party in 2017, but then complained to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) in October 2021 and withdrew from the party's complaints process.
Shortly after the panel’s findings were published last week, the Conservative Party withdrew the party whip from Bone, meaning he is currently sitting as an independent MP. Bone had held the Wellingborough seat since 2005 before losing the whip earlier this month.
"[Mr Bone] has been found to have committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct,” the panel said.
“The bullying involved violence, shouting and swearing, mocking, belittling and humiliating behaviour, and ostracism. It was often in front of others... The respondent specifically targeted the complainant.
"This wilful pattern of bullying also included an unwanted incident of sexual misconduct, when the complainant was trapped in a room with the respondent in a hotel in Madrid, not knowing what was going to happen next.”
The panel described the MP for Wellingborough’s actions as “a deliberate and conscious abuse of power using a sexual mechanism” and described how he had requested “massages” and forcibly put the complainant’s hands in his lap.
The staff member involved has since given an interview to the BBC in which he described Bone’s behaviour as “erratic” and “explosive”, and said the "horrid, brutal, dark experience" had left him a “broken shell of the young man I once was”.
"Like a pendulum [Bone] would go from one type of personality to another,” the former parliamentary assistant said.
"My mind and my body were just constantly on edge... That had a big impact on my life at the time, and unfortunately continued to do so for many years afterwards.”
Bone denies the incidents took place, posting a public statement in which he said the allegations were "false and untrue".
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