'Inappropriate' for Corby MP Tom Pursglove to be out campaigning with suspended Peter Bone, says Labour Party chair
As disgraced MP Peter Bone fights for his political life, his protégé Tom Pursglove from the neighbouring Corby constituency has also hit national headlines.
Yesterday The Sunday Mirror splashed with photos of Mr Bone and Mr Pursglove – a Conservative Government minister – leafleting homes together just days after Mr Bone was suspended from Parliament for bulling a staff member and sexual misconduct.
Mr Bone, who denies the allegations, has also had the Conservative whip withdrawn and is facing the possibility of being booted out of his job by constituents in a recall petition.
In a letter to Rishi Sunak she said: “You will be aware of the allegations and investigation into Peter Bone. You may also have seen the testimony of one of Mr Bone's staff, who raised a complaint. This individual told the BBC how the alleged ‘physical, emotional abuse’ left him ‘a broken shell of the young man [he] once was’.
“It is therefore extremely disappointing to see a Conservative MP and minister Tom Pursglove continue to campaign with Peter Bone, as revealed in the Sunday Mirror yesterday.
“I'm sure you will agree with me that it is totally inappropriate for a serving minister and MP to promote Peter Bone in this way.
“I note that the first complaint against Mr Bone was made in 2015 and that such a lengthy delay left one complainant ‘in a state of limbo’. Such a delay, and the behaviour of Tom Pursglove calls into serious question how seriously the Conservative Party takes these allegations.”
Ms Dodds has asked the Prime Minister if the campaigning activity was sanctioned by the Conservative Party and if it was not, what action would be taken against Mr Pursglove.
She added: “Will he retain the Conservative whip and his ministerial post? If so, what does this say about the Conservative Party's attitude towards these allegations and victims of such abuse?”
“I'm afraid if you are ever to honour your commitment to professionalism, integrity and accountability at all levels, then you and the Conservative Party must demonstrate that you can take strong action against those found to have committed abuse and those who appear to support them. If you are unable to do so, the public will draw their own conclusions.”
Mr Pursglove has been contacted for comment but is yet to respond.