Wellingborough MP Peter Bone facing Parliament suspension after bullying and sexual misconduct investigation
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The Conservative MP, who has represented the constituency since 2005, will be suspended for six weeks if the Independent Expert Panel’s (IEP) recommendation is approved in the House of Commons.
The IEP found he “committed many varied acts of bullying” and “one act of sexual misconduct” in 2012 and 2013 after a complaint by a former Westminster staff member.
They found that the complainant was ridiculed, had things thrown at him and pressurised into giving Mr Bone a massage.
If the suspension is agreed a recall petition will be triggered which could force a by-election.
Mr Bone has called the allegations made against him “false and untrue”.
Following an investigation, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct. Mr Bone appealed this decision but the appeal was dismissed.
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.
The Commissioner 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.”
If Parliament agrees the suspension a recall petition will be opened in Mr Bone’s constituency. If 10 per cent of the electorate in the constituency sign the petition within six weeks the seat will be declared vacant and a by-election will be held.