Is this the end for Wellingborough MP Peter Bone?
A report published by a parliamentary watchdog has found Peter Bone MP bullied, physically assaulted and exposed himself to a young male staffer
The report by the Independent Executive Panel published by parliament yesterday makes for shocking reading. It says that Wellingborough MP Peter Bone subjected a young man to a catalogue of abusive behaviour in the months between late 2012 and early 2013, hitting him, belittling him, forcing him to sit with his hands in his lap when he did not do work to Bone’s exacting standards and requesting massages when they were alone in the office together.
On a trip to Madrid on parliamentary business, in which Bone had booked the pair a twin room, he allegedly exposed his genitals in the man’s face after dropping his towel.
During work times he called the man ‘thick’, shouted at him in front of others, threw office equipment at him and when the beleaguered employee called him out about the indecent exposure incident he ostracised him.
The male staffer’s father had first complained to former PM David Cameron in 2015 in writing and then a formal complaint was made to the Conservative Party in 2017 when Theresa May was PM. But four years later after the investigation had still not concluded, he instead took the matter to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme in October 2021.
An investigation began in September last year and found against Bone on a number of charges. Bone appealed to the IEP this summer, but his appeal was dismissed.
The parliamentary report was scathing of Bone saying the case was about an abuse of power:
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.
It also said Bone’s witnesses were less than convincing and said two were ‘heavily affiliated’ to the MP.
Bone, who was first elected in 2005, claimed his office was always relaxed and fun.
The panel has recommended a six-week suspension for father-of-three Bone. It will now be for parliament to decide whether to approve the suspension.
Bone denies the matter. In a statement issued yesterday he said:
What happens now?
The recommended suspension will go before the House or Commons for a vote on the final decision. If he is suspended for six weeks it could trigger a by-election. This will happen if ten percent of the Wellingborough and Rushden constituency (around 8,000 people) sign the recall petition.
However the Labour Party does not even have a parliamentary candidate for the constituency. Candidates have been selected for Northampton North and South constituencies, and Corby and the Kettering list is now open, but the Wellingborough process has yet to begin.
Yesterday both the local Labour Group and the Lib Dem’s called for Bone to resign.
“We, the Wellingborough and Rushden Constituency Labour Party are appalled to hear of the serious allegations that have arisen against Peter Bone. This is not the expected conduct of an MP and our thoughts are with the alleged victim in wishing they get the support needed. Peter Bone is currently and has shown on many occasions that he is not a true representation of the people of Wellingborough and Rushden. We all deserve better and as such we call on him to do the right thing and resign.”
The Lib Dems 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.”
“We also want to stress that our thoughts and concerns are with the staff member who made the complaint. We hope that they are receiving the support they deserve from the Conservative Party and the Commons authorities.”
Bone, who was a huge Boris Johnson supporter and was promoted by the disgraced PM to deputy leader of the house before his replacement Liz Truss demoted him months later, has had his fair share of controversies during his 18 years in parliamentary office.
In the mid 2010s he was investigated by the police over benefit fraud relating to his then wife’s family. The CPS decided not to prosecute saying there was insufficient evidence. Bone has always denied wrongdoing.
Later the then police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds was charged and faced a trial for leaking sensitive information relating to Bone’s case (in 2017 a jury failed to reach a verdict).
His personal and professional life has also made the headlines. In 2018 The Sun exposed that he was in a relationship with his then parliamentary assistant Helen Harrison, while still married to his wife Jenny. Today Jenny Bone runs his office, while also serving as a North Northamptonshire councillor, alongside Cllr Harrison who is the executive member of the council responsible for adult social care.
The trio and others are seen out canvassing together. Aspiring MP Cllr Harrison is on the list of approved Conservative candidates and could find herself as the selected candidate if there is a by election. However there has been no word today from the Wellingborough and Rushden Conservative Association and so Bone may even stand again if there is a by election.
A leading brexiteer, he ran the Grassroots out campaign with friend and Corby MP Tom Pursglove. They were both accused by donor Arron Banks of profiting from the campaign after paying themselves a sum of around £20,000 each for their involvement in the campaign.
We have reported a number of stories about Peter Bone over the past few years. Here’s a recap:
It was a day for big news in Northants yesterday as the under investigation chief constable Nick Adderley was suspended by the county’s police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold.
The county’s senior police officer has been under investigation by the Independent office for a police Conduct after a complaint was made suggesting he had misrepresented his military history. Yesterday the IOPC put out a statement which shows the severity of the investigation, with Adderley possibly facing criminal charges. It centres around whether he misrepresented his career history when applying for his position as chief constable.
“The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is criminally investigating the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire over allegations that he has potentially misrepresented his military service, both in public and in communications with the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner. We have advised the Chief Constable in a criminal letter that we are examining possible offences of misconduct in public office and fraud by false representation. After reviewing information gathered so far as part of our investigation, we have also served a gross misconduct notice on the Chief Constable for potential breaches of police professional standards relating to honesty and integrity, orders and instructions and conduct. The serving of such a notice and letter does not mean that any proceedings will necessarily follow.
“The IOPC will continue to gather and review evidence as the investigation progresses and will interview the chief officer in due course. At the end of the investigation, we will decide whether or not to refer a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any potential offence. We will also decide whether the Chief Constable has any case to answer for disciplinary matters.”
NN Journal understands that Adderley released a video to staff last week on the force’s internal intranet system in which he said he now understands what it is like to be under investigation.
Deputy chief constable Ivan Balhatchet will lead the force while Adderley is suspended.