Conservative MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone has been suspended from the Commons for six weeks for committing “many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013. The Independent Expert Panel stated:
“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.”
Bone claimed the findings were “without foundation“. Six weeks is well clear of the ten days necessary to trigger a recall petition and an inevitable by-election – although the standards committee also has to recommend the suspension first. Still, mark your calendars…
Read his full statement below:
“Today the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has published a report finding me guilty of misconduct. 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. They did not raise them at any time during their employment, either in writing or verbally with me, nor with their line managers.
I am not permitted under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) process to fully respond to the allegations in public. Nor can I detail my views on the huge inconsistencies and lack of evidence in the allegations, or highlight areas that proved the allegations were factually false.
However I can say that the allegations are the only allegations at all made against me throughout my work as an MP and beyond. Witness statements were submitted from ten employees (current and former) of the highest integrity, testifying to the professional, accommodating and friendly place my office is to work. Many others would be prepared to testify the same.
I am also firmly of the opinion that on this occasion the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme investigation was flawed, procedurally unfair and didn’t comply with its own rules and regulations. 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.”