Calls for resignation of Wellingborough MP Peter Bone over bullying and sexual misconduct report
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There have been calls for the resignation of Wellingborough MP Peter Bone after a probe into bullying and sexual misconduct.
This morning it was announced that the Conservative MP is facing a six-week suspension from Parliament over an investigation into a complaint made by a former Westminster staff member.
An investigation concluded that Mr Bone had “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” the man in 2012 and 2013 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”.
Another allegation found proven by a commissioner was that, on an overseas trip, Mr Bone “exposed his genitals close to the complainant’s face”. Mr Bone denies the allegations.
If Parliament accepts the recommendation to suspend Mr Bone, who has been Wellingborough’s MP since 2005, a recall petition will be trigged which could mean a by-election will be called.
But opposition Labour members have called on the 70-year-old to go now.
A spokesman for the Wellingborough and Rushden Constituency Labour Party said they were ‘appalled’ by the serious allegations and that Mr Bone is not a ‘true representation’ of the people of the area.
They said: “We all deserve better and as such we call on him to do the right thing and resign.”
Anneliese Dodds, the Labour Party chair, said: "These are extremely serious allegations. If Rishi Sunak is to ever live up to his promise of integrity, professionalism and accountability he needs to urgently get a grip on his party.
"The people of Wellingborough deserve better than an out of touch Conservative Party unable to deal with the cost-of-living crisis. Only Labour can get our economy growing and give Britain its future back."
The calls were echoed by north Northamptonshire’s Liberal Democrats who said Mr Bone must resign.
A spokesman said: “Like many others we are shocked at the content of the allegations against Mr Bone. We believe these are a clear breaking of the bonds of trust and confidence between him and the constituency, and that Mr Bone’s position is untenable.
"We echo the call from Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain MP that Mr Bone must resign rather than subject his constituents to the drawn-out recall process, and that local Conservatives and the Prime Minister must ensure the whip is removed. If not, we will be fully supporting the recall effort. Whether it is through a by-election or a general election, the people of Wellingborough and Rushden deserve to get their say on a fresh start away from Conservative Party sleaze and scandal.”
The standards commissioner found Mr Bone had “committed many varied acts of bullying” and “one act of sexual misconduct”. The complainant had first made a complaint to the Conservative Party in 2017 before taking it to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) in October 2021.
A report found that the complainant was “constantly on edge with anxiety” and “took the brunt” of Mr Bone’s anger and rage. He felt that he had to leave his job, the report said.
Mr Bone, who was made deputy leader in the House of Commons in 2022, after the complaints were made, has called the allegations made against him “false and untrue”.
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.