MPs approve six-week suspension for Peter Bone - leaving Sunak open to facing by-election

25 October 2023, 18:37 | Updated: 26 October 2023, 01:27

The Commons approved a six-week suspension of Mr Bone on Wednesday.
The Commons approved a six-week suspension of Mr Bone on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

MP Peter Bone has been suspended from the House of Commons for six weeks after being found to have committed bullying and sexual misconduct against a staff member.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak now faces the possibility of another by-election after the House of Commons approved the sanction against the the MP for Wellingborough on Wednesday.

Mr Bone was found to have "committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct" against a staff member in 2012 and 2013.

A recall petition is now being arranged for his constituency of Wellingborough. If 10 per cent of voters sign the recall petition, a by-election will be held.

He is sitting as an independent after losing the Conservative whip over the allegations earlier this month.

A spokesman for Chief Whip Simon Hart said at the time: "Following a report by the Independent Expert Panel, the Chief Whip has removed the conservative whip from Peter Bone MP."

The MP said the allegations were "false and untrue" and "without foundation" after they emerged but was kicked out of the Tory parliamentary party the next day.

Read more: Voters want to tell you to 'eff off': Starmer's swipe at Sunak as he calls for immediate general election at PMQs

Read more: Rishi Sunak drops huge hint that general election will be held in Autumn 2024 as he marks one year in No10

Peter Bone has been suspended for six weeks.
Peter Bone has been suspended for six weeks. Picture: Alamy

Mr Bone held the Wellingborough seat for the Conservatives since 2005 and retained it at the last general election with a majority of 18,540.

That is smaller than the majorities the Tories had held in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire in 2019, which both lost to Labour in by-elections last week.

Mr Bone had already been recommended for suspension by Parliament's Independent Expert Panel when he had his Tory whip removed.

Parliament's Independent Expert Panel upheld an earlier investigation that found he broke the MPs' code of conduct on four counts of bullying and one of sexual misconduct.

He "verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated" an employee and "repeatedly physically struck and threw things" at him.

Mr Sunak faces a potential fresh by-election headache after Mr Bone's suspension.
Mr Sunak faces a potential fresh by-election headache after Mr Bone's suspension. Picture: Alamy

Mr Bone was also found to have indecently exposed himself to the complainant in the bathroom of a hotel room during a work trip to Madrid.

He imposed an "unwanted and humiliating ritual" on the man by forcing him to sit with his hands in his lap when the MP was unhappy with his work, the investigation found.

Mr Bone has insistently denied the allegations.

It comes after Conservative lost both seats in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire to Labour in last week’s by-elections.

The Tamworth by-election was triggered after then-MP, the Conservative Chris Pincher, stepped down amid a sexual misconduct scandal.

While Ms Dorries, a former Cabinet minister under Boris Johnson, stepped down as MP for Mid Bedfordshire after being denied a peerage in Boris Johnson's resignation honours list.

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