Shocking moment Rishi Sunak refuses to endorse Tory candidate girlfriend of shamed ex-MP Peter Bone

8 January 2024, 13:51

Shocking moment Rishi Sunak refuses to endorse Tory candidate girlfriend of shamed ex MP Peter Bone

Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Rishi Sunak has pointedly refused to endorse the new Tory candidate for Wellingborough - the girlfriend of ex-MP Peter Bone.

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The Prime Minister declined to give any warm words to Helen Harrison, who was selected overwhelmingly by Tory members in the local area yesterday.

Mr Bone was found to have bullied and sexually harassed a former member of staff in a damning report last year.

He was suspended from the House of Commons which triggered a recall petition in his Northamptonshire constituency.

And because 10 per cent of voters signed it, there will now be a by-election in the area.

He will be able to stand as an independent candidate, but has yet to say if he will do so.

Read more: Disgraced MP's girlfriend 'to stand for Tories' in Wellingborough by-election after his recall over 'sexual misconduct'

Read more: Suspended Tory MP Peter Bone loses seat in recall petition triggering fresh by-election headache for Sunak

Ms Harrison will be standing for the Tories, but there's a high chance the seat, which has been Tory since 2005, will swing to Labour.

LBC grilled the PM today on how he feels about Ms Harrison standing to replace her partner.

The PM told us at a PM Connect event at Accrington Stanley Football Club: "Candidate selection is done locally, so local members in their area can choose a given candidate. That's how it works in our party.

"We believe in empowering people locally - that's how we did it."

He refused to comment on Mr Bone or Ms Harrison, or if he was "proud" she would be a candidate.

Rishi Sunak Holds PM Connect Event In The North West
Rishi Sunak Holds PM Connect Event In The North West. Picture: Getty

Mr Sunak added that the message to everyone in the by-election - which has yet to have a date decided - would be that he has "made progress" and "the country is pointing in the right direction".

He added: "The choice now is to stick with the plan, because it is starting to deliver the long term change this country needs... we do not want to go back to square one. And that's what the Labour Party has on offer."

Today was the first PM connect of what is likely to be an election year.

The PM said last week it would likely take place in the latter half of 2024 - putting Britain on course to go to the polls in October or November.