Peter Bone’s abuse ‘left me broken’, says Tory Brexiteer’s former aide

In an interview the ex-staff member said Mr Bone’s behaviour was ‘often explosive’

Archie Mitchell
Wednesday 25 October 2023 12:04 BST
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Peter Bone’s former staffer has said the suspended Tory MP’s “physical, emotional and psychological abuse” left him a “broken shell of the young man I once was”.

Mr Bone, who had the Conservative whip withdrawn after a parliamentary watchdog upheld allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct against him last week, will face a vote in parliament today on whether he should be suspended from the commons.

If MPs approve the suspension, the outspoken Brexiteer would face a recall petition in his Wellingborough and Rushden constituency, potentially paving the way for a by-election to replace him.

And, ahead of the vote, his former staffer has laid bare the impact Mr Bone’s alleged abuse had on him.

In an interview with the BBC, the ex-staff member said Mr Bone’s behaviour was “erratic,” while his temper was “often explosive”. He described the “disrespect” he felt when Mr Bone was made deputy leader of the House of Commons by Boris Johnson, despite an ongoing investigation by Tory HQ.

And he laid bare the failings of the Conservatives to investigate his initial complaint against Mr Bone, saying the party “ghosted” him.

The staffer said: "Peter’s behaviour was erratic. His temper was often explosive," he said.

"Like a pendulum he would go from one type of personality to another. It was very hard to predict, and that kind of left me feeling quite under siege.

"They call it a siege mentality in terms of the relentless shouting, the screaming, the hitting."

The former staff member said the "horrid, brutal, dark experience", which took place more than 10 years ago, "left me a broken shell of the young man I once was".

The parliamentary commissioner for standards upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct against Mr Bone.

In a shocking report, the standards commissioner found Mr Bone had:

  • Indecently exposed himself to the complainant on an overseas trip, initially in the bathroom of the hotel room they were sharing and then in the bedroom
  • “Verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” the complainant
  • “Repeatedly physically struck and threw things at” the complainant
  • “Imposed an unwanted and humiliating ritual on” the complainant, including instructing, or physically forcing, the complainant to put his hands in his lap when Mr Bone was unhappy with him or his work
  • “Repeatedly pressurised [the complainant] to give him a massage in the office” 

The report detailed how Mr Bone booked a single hotel room for himself and the complainant during a work trip in Spain, which one staffer told The Independent is extremely unusual.

Mr Bone then became angry when the complainant separated the two single beds in the room before engineering a situation in which the complainant was “confronted by his penis at very close quarters”, the report said.

Mr Bone has described the allegations as “false” and “without foundation”, adding: “None of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place.”

He has indicated plans to fight the suspension, saying it has been “an honour” to represent his constituents and “I will continue to represent them to the best of my ability.”

He accused the parliamentary watchdog’s investigation of being “flawed and procedurally unfair”. “I am currently in discussion with lawyers about what action could and should be taken,” he added.

But, speaking to the BBC after Mr Bone’s suspension, the staffer said: “My mind and my body were just constantly on edge... That had a big impact on my life at the time, and unfortunately continued to do so for many years afterwards."

The ex-staffer also laid bare the failings of the Conservative Party to investigate his complaint against Mr Bone, saying he felt “ghosted for three years by the party”.

After waiting almost three years, he submitted a formal complaint to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which was formed in 2018 to tackle misconduct by MPs.

Mr Bone has not responded to a request for comment.

Responding to criticism on the adversarial nature of the CCHQ complaints process, a Conservative spokesperson said: "The procedure is, by default, adversarial. However the process of resolving a complaint varies depending on the case and the Chair of a panel can amend process where it is considered appropriate, following applications from a complainant.

“As the complainant withdrew from the process before the case was heard, the case never reached a stage where a decision could be taken by the Chair on how to conduct proceedings."

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