Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Conservative MP Peter Bone was suspended from the Conservative Party (Picture: PA)

A by-election has been triggered by voters after a Tory MP was suspended over claims of bullying and sexual misconduct.

Peter Bone has lost his seat in Wellingborough after 13.2% of the electorate backed a petition to recall him, passing the 10% threshold for a by-election contest, North Northamptonshire Council confirmed.

The petition was opened when the former minister was suspended from the House of Commons for six weeks after a watchdog found he’d bullied a staff member and exposed his genitals near their face.

It will allow a chance for Labour to win back the constituency which was held by the Conservatives from 2005 until October this year when Mr Bone was stripped of the Tory whip – he has been sitting as an independent.

Before then, Wellingborough has been a hotly contested seat, swinging between Labour and the Tories throughout history.

Mr Bone gained 62.2% of the vote in the 2019 general election, comfortably seeing off Labour candidate Andrea Watts with an 18,540 majority.

When the by-election goes ahead in the new year, Labour will be looking to build on a string of recent successes, including victories in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire.

A by-election has been triggered in Wellingborough, where Mr Bone had been sitting as an independent after he was stripped of the Tory whip in October 2023 (Picture: PA)

Gen Kitchen, a charity fundraiser who grew up in Northamptonshire, will lead Labour’s fight for the seat.

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Mr Bone, who denied the allegations against him and previously said he will continue to serve as an MP, will still be allowed to stand as a candidate in the by-election.

In October, he was found to have ‘committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct’ against a staff member in 2012 and 2013.

Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel upheld an earlier investigation that found he broke the MPs’ code of conduct on four counts of bullying and one of sexual misconduct.

According to the investigation, Mr Bone ‘verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated’ an employee and ‘repeatedly physically struck and threw things’ at him.

He was also found to have indecently exposed himself to the complainant in the bathroom of a hotel room during a work trip to Madrid.

The MP also imposed an ‘unwanted and humiliating ritual’ on the man by forcing him to sit with his hands in his lap when the MP was unhappy with his work, the investigation found.

Speaking to the BBC, the complainant at the centre of the case said the ordeal was a ‘horrid, brutal, dark experience that left me a broken shell of the young man I once was’.

‘His temper was often explosive. I described it as like a pendulum,’ he said, adding that Mr Bone’s behaviour was ‘relentless’.

He accused the Conservative Party of having ‘effectively ghosted’ him for three years after he first reported the allegations, with a complaint going to then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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