Tory MP Peter Bone faces suspension over bullying and sexual misconduct

The veteran MP could now face a recall petition, opening the door to another potential by-election for Rishi Sunak to fight

Tory MP Peter Bone is facing a six-week suspension from the Commons after being found to have committed bullying and sexual misconduct against a staff member.

Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) said the MP for Wellingborough “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013.

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The suspension, if approved by MPs, could lead to the Conservative facing a recall petition that would pave the way for another possible by-election.

Parliament's Independent Expert Panel has recommended that Peter Bone is suspended for six weeks for bullying and sexual misconduct.Parliament's Independent Expert Panel has recommended that Peter Bone is suspended for six weeks for bullying and sexual misconduct.
Parliament's Independent Expert Panel has recommended that Peter Bone is suspended for six weeks for bullying and sexual misconduct.

Complaints included four allegations of bullying, saying Mr Bone “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” his employee. He also allegedly “repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at the employee, including hitting him with his hand or an object such as a pencil or a rolled-up document, and imposed an “unwanted and humiliating ritual” on him by forcing him to sit with his hands in his lap when the MP was unhappy with his work.

There was also an allegation he ostracised the complainant following an incident on a work trip to Madrid with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, where Mr Bone was said to have indecently exposed himself to the complainant in the bathroom and bedroom of the hotel room they were sharing.

Following an investigation, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner upheld all four allegations of bullying and the allegation of sexual misconduct relating to the incident in Madrid. However, he found the demands for massages were bullying, not sexual misconduct.

Mr Bone appealed against the decision, which was then upheld by a sub-panel of the IEP, which described it as a “serious case of misconduct” including “a deliberate and conscious abuse of power using a sexual mechanism”.

The sub-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.”

In his response to the IEP’s findings, Mr Bone said: “As I have maintained throughout these proceedings, none of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place. They are false and untrue claims. They are without foundation.”

He said the complainant had not raised the issues during their employment and that Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme [ICGS] rules meant he could not “detail my views on the huge inconsistencies and lack of evidence in the allegations”.

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Mr Bone said: “I can say that the allegations are the only allegations at all made against me throughout my work as an MP and beyond. Witness statements were submitted from ten employees (current and former) of the highest integrity, testifying to the professional, accommodating and friendly place my office is to work.”

Claiming the ICGS investigation was “procedurally unfair”, Mr Bone said he was “discussing with lawyers what action could and should be taken”.

According to the IEP’s report, the complainant’s father wrote to then-prime minister David Cameron in December 2015 to complain about Mr Bone’s conduct. The complainant then submitted a formal complaint to Mr Cameron’s successor, Theresa May, in September 2017 and the Conservative Party began an investigation, which had still not been resolved by August last year.

Mr Bone will now face a vote on the six-week suspension recommended by the IEP report. If approved, it would trigger a recall petition that could lead to a by-election in his Wellingborough constituency.



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