MP Peter Bone suspended for six weeks after bullying and sexual misconduct claims

MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone (PA)
MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone (PA)

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.

The House on Wednesday approved the sanction against the MP for Wellingborough, who is sitting as an independent after losing the Conservative whip.

A recall petition will be arranged which will trigger a by-election if signed by 10 per cent of voters in the Northamptonshire constituency.

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

Mr Bone said the allegations are “false and untrue” and “without foundation”, and has vowed to continue representing his constituents.

He has 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 both Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire in 2019, and they both fell to Labour in by-elections last week.

Five allegations about Mr Bone were made by a Westminster staffer in October 2021, with a complaint to then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 going unresolved, according to the IEP report.

The complaints said Mr Bone "verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated" his employee and "repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him, including hitting him with his hand or an object such as a pencil or rolled-up document.

The allegations also said Mr Bone imposed an "unwanted and humiliating ritual" on the staffer by forcing him to sit with his hands in his lap when the MP was unhappy with his work, and Mr Bone allegedly ostracised the complainant following an incident on a work trip to Madrid.

The complainant also alleged that Mr Bone "repeatedly pressurised" the member of staff to give him a massage in the office and, on a visit to Madrid with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, indecently exposed himself to the complainant in the bathroom and bedroom of the hotel room they were sharing.

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 said ICGS rules meant he could not "detail my views on the huge inconsistencies and lack of evidence in the allegations".

The complainant at the centre of the case has told the BBC it was a “horrid, brutal, dark experience that left me a broken shell of the young man I once was".

"His temper was often explosive. I described it as like a pendulum," he said, adding that Mr Bone’s behaviour was "relentless".

He accused the Tories of having "effectively ghosted" him for three years after he first reported the allegations in 2017.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is seeking procedural advice after Tory former minister Liam Fox raised concerns of a possible contempt of Parliament caused by the BBC interview.