TW: mentions of bullying, sexual harassment, harassment
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Tory MP Peter Bone has been all over the news as he faces accusations of bullying and sexual misconduct. The House of Commons is currently investigating his behaviour in the workplace over the years, and on Monday 16 October the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) of Parliament recommended that Bone be given a six-week suspension from the Commons.
This comes after the IEP rejected Bone’s appeal against several allegations in an earlier investigation, namely that he ‘verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused, and humiliated’ a person working under him between 2012 and 2013. So, who is this MP and what are the allegations made against him by this former colleague?
Who is Peter Bone?
Bone has been the MP for Wellingborough and Rushden since 2015, and is one of the Conservatives’ loudest Brexit supporters. He took part in the Leave means Leave political advisory board and organised a pro-Brexit campaign during the EU referendum. In 2022, Bone served as the House of Commons deputy leader.
As for his personal life, Bone has two children with ex-wife Jeanette Sweeney, and is currently said to be dating physiotherapist Helen Harrison. Harrison previously worked as his executive secretary.
Accusations against Bone
The IEP, the body that deals with complaints made against MPs, reported that Bone has ‘committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct’ against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013.
The standards commissioner found that Bone had indecently exposed himself to this former employee in the bathroom of a hotel room they were sharing, and then again in the bedroom. The complainant stated that Bone ‘repeatedly physically struck and threw things’ at him and imposed certain humiliating rules - one example being that the complainant had to put his hands in his lap when Bone was unhappy with his behaviour.
Bone is also accused of having repeatedly put pressure on the complainant to give him a massage in the office. The report explains that Bone booked a single room for the two of them during a work trip to Spain, which a colleague told The Independent is highly unusual.
He then reportedly got angry when the complainant separated the two single beds and managed to create a situation where his colleague was ‘confronted by his penis at very close quarters’.
What will happen now?
Bone took to X to state that these allegations are ‘false’ and ‘without foundation’:
None of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place.
He says he would fight a suspension, stating that it is an honour to represent his constituents and he will continue to do so as long as he can.
If Bone does receive a six-week suspension, he will also go through a recall petition. His constituents might, as it were, feel they have a ‘bone’ to pick with their representative… and a recall petition would give them a chance to demand a by-election to unseat him.
Independent: Brexiteer Tory MP who ‘exposed himself to staff member and trapped him in hotel bathroom’ facing suspension
Evening Standard: Who is Peter Bone? Tory MP faces six-week suspension over bullying and sexual misconduct findings