Wellingborough MP Peter Bone loses Conservative whip over bullying and sexual misconduct
Wellingborough MP Peter Bone has lost the Conservative whip over bullying and sexual misconduct.
Yesterday (Monday) it was announced that Mr Bone is facing a six-week suspension from Parliament over his conduct towards a former Westminster staff member in 2012 and 2013.
An Independent Expert Panel (IEP) found he “committed many varied acts of bullying” and “one act of sexual misconduct”. He is alleged to have thrown things at the complainant, humiliated him and indecently exposed himself to him. Mr Bone has called the allegations “false and untrue”.
Losing the Conservative whip means he will now sit as an Independent MP.
If his six-week suspension is agreed in the House of Commons a recall petition will be triggered. If 10 per cent of the constituency sign the petition a by-election will then be held. Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians have called for Mr Bone to resign now and said they were ‘appalled’ by the allegations.
Following an investigation, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct.
The complainant, a man, first made a complaint to the Conservative Party in 2017 before taking it to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) in October 2021. Mr Bone was made deputy leader of the House of Commons in 2022, after the complaints were made.
A report found that Mr Bone had “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” the man and “repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him.
It was also found that Mr Bone instructed or physically forced the complainant to put his hands in his lap and “repeatedly pressurised the complainant to give him a massage in the office”.
A report said: “At the time of the bullying at work, he (the complainant) was constantly on edge with anxiety. He was fearful of the respondent’s unpredictable mood swings and threats of violence. In his own words, he took the brunt of the respondent’s anger, rage, and physical and emotional abuse. He was left feeling broken and lost, both emotionally and career-wise.”
Another allegation found proven by the Commissioner was that, on an overseas trip, Mr Bone “exposed his genitals close to the complainant’s face”.
A report said the complainant felt “intimidated, threatened and deeply uncomfortable”.
It added that the complainant felt that he had to leave his job and felt unable to continue or return to a career in the political arena.
The IEP sub-panel, who decided that Mr Bone should be suspended for six weeks, said: “This is a serious case of misconduct...the bullying involved violence, shouting and swearing, mocking, belittling and humiliating behaviour, and ostracism[…]
“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...this was a deliberate and conscious abuse of power using a sexual mechanism: indecent exposure.”
In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, 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.
“The allegations by an ex-employee refer to events of more than 10 years ago that spanned no more than a few months. The complainant first made the allegations years after they left my employment.
“The did not raise them at any time during their employment, either in writing or verbally with me, nor with their line managers.”
He added that he believes the investigation was ‘flawed’, ‘procedurally unfair’ and doesn’t comply with rules and regulations.
Mr Bone said: “It is my belief that they have operated outside of the powers given to them by Parliament and I am currently discussing with lawyers what action could and should be taken.
“It has been a great honour and privilege to represent the people of Wellingborough and Rushden for more than 18 years as their Member of Parliament. I will continue to represent them to the best of my ability.”