Disgraced former Tory MP Peter Bone spotted campaigning for girlfriend in seat he was stripped of

In a move which pollsters have said will add to the party’s woes, Tory HQ picked his partner Helen Harrison, a local councillor, to fight the contest to replace him

Archie Mitchell
Thursday 11 January 2024 18:00 GMT
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Fresh by-election looms after Peter Bone suspended for bullying

Disgraced former Conservative MP Peter Bone has been spotted on the campaign trail in the by-election to replace him, supporting the girlfriend chosen as the Tory candidate.

In a move which pollsters have said will add to the party’s woes, Tory HQ picked his partner Helen Harrison, a local councillor, to fight the contest.

Mr Bone, who lost the seat after being found to have exposed himself to a staff member and trapped him in a hotel bathroom, has been seen knocking on doors in support of Ms Harrison.

Peter Bone’s partner Helen Harrison has been picked to fight a by-election to replace him
Peter Bone’s partner Helen Harrison has been picked to fight a by-election to replace him (Fabio De Paola/Shutterstock)

He was filmed by the BBC campaigning in Rushden, in the Wellingborough constituency, ahead of next month’s by-election.

Asked whether he was out campaigning for Ms Harrison, Mr Bone said: "Yes, I think that’s rather obvious. We’re out canvassing tonight.”

Tory chief whip Simon Hart issued the writs for the vacant seats of Wellingborough and Kingswood on Thursday, meaning by-elections will be held on 15 February.

Mr Bone’s constituents used a recall petition to kick him out of parliament in December, after he was found to have indecently exposed himself to a staff member and trapped him in the bathroom of a hotel room.

Parliament’s standards chief upheld five claims of bullying and one of sexual misconduct against the leading Brexit backer. Mr Bone, 71, has always denied the allegations against him.

Mr Bone has been canvassing to support his girlfriend
Mr Bone has been canvassing to support his girlfriend (PA)

The recall petition triggered by Mr Bone’s suspension was backed by 13.2 per cent of eligible voters – 10,505 people – in his constituency, surpassing the 10 per cent threshold needed for a by-election. A date will be set once MPs return to Parliament this week after the Christmas holidays.

It was reported late last year that Mr Bone was threatening to run as an independent in the by-election, a move that would have split the Tory vote, unless his girlfriend was added to the candidate shortlist.

Mr Bone was found by parliament’s behaviour watchdog the Independent Expert Panel to have “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a staff member in 2012 and 2013. The panel heard that he “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” an employee and “repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him.

He won the Wellingborough seat by 18,540 votes in 2019, but the Tories have lost by-elections with even larger majorities in recent months. Labour overturned a majority of more than 24,000 to win the Mid-Bedfordshire seat previously held by Nadine Dorries.

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