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Peter Bone: Tory MP kicked out of parliamentary party after bullying and sexual misconduct allegations | Politics News

today18/10/2023

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Former Tory minister Peter Bone has been kicked out of the parliamentary party after a report found he committed acts of bullying and sexual misconduct.

Mr Bone has lost the Conservative whip – meaning he will have to sit as an independent MP.

A spokesperson for Chief Whip Simon Hart said: “Following a report by the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), the Chief Whip has removed the Conservative whip from Peter Bone MP.”

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On Monday, a report by parliament’s IEP found Mr Bone “trapped” a member of staff in a room where he exposed himself – in what the panel said was a “deliberate and conscious abuse of power”.

Mr Bone, the MP for Wellingborough, “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against the staff member in 2012 and 2013, the panel said.

It recommended that he be suspended from the House of Commons for six weeks – paving the way for another potential by-election and headache for Rishi Sunak.

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

Mr Bone was made deputy leader of the Commons in 2022 in the final days of Boris Johnson’s administration.

The Liberal Democrats have demanded an inquiry into what the former prime minister and other senior figures knew about the allegations Mr Bone faced at the time he was given the frontbench role.

Five allegations by a Westminster staffer were made in October 2021 after a complaint made to the-then prime minister Theresa May in 2017 went unresolved, the IEP said.

The complaints included four allegations of bullying, saying Mr Bone:

• “Verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” his employee
• “Repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him, including hitting him with his hand or an object such as a pencil or a rolled-up document
• Imposed an “unwanted and humiliating ritual” on him by forcing him to sit with his hands in his lap when the MP was unhappy with his work
• Ostracised the complainant following an incident on a work trip to Madrid

The complainant also alleged Mr Bone had “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.

Following an investigation, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner upheld all four allegations of bullying and the allegation of sexual misconduct relating to the indecent exposure in Madrid. However, he found the demands for massages were bullying, not sexual misconduct.

Mr Bone appealed against the decision but this was dismissed by the IEP, which described Mr Bone’s behaviour as “a serious case of misconduct”.

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The report said: “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 his response to the 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 rules of the independent complaints scheme meant he could not “detail my views on the huge inconsistencies and lack of evidence in the allegations”.

Mr Bone said he is “discussing with lawyers what action could and should be taken”.

Mr Bone will now face a vote in the Commons on the six-week suspension recommended by the IEP report. If MPs back the punishment it would trigger a recall petition that could potentially lead to a by-election if 10% of eligible and registered voters sign it.



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