Peter Bone MP loses seat as recall petition triggers by-election

  • By Joshua Nevett
  • Political reporter, BBC News

Image caption,

Peter Bone was suspended from the Commons for six weeks for breaching the code of conduct for MPs

MP Peter Bone has lost his seat after a recall petition, meaning a by-election will be held early next year.

The recall petition was held after he was suspended as an MP over bullying and sexual misconduct allegations, which he denies.

Mr Bone turned Wellingborough in Northamptonshire into a safe Tory seat after becoming its MP in 2005.

But the by-election will be seen as a tough test for Rishi Sunak, with the Tories trailing Labour in the polls.

A suspension of more than 10 days – if passed by the House of Commons – triggers a recall petition.

The recall petition was signed by 13.2% of eligible voters in the constituency, above the 10% threshold required for Mr Bone to lose his seat.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Bone said the majority of the electorate in the constituency chose not to sign the recall petition, describing the process as “bizarre”.

He said the allegations that led to the recall petition were “totally untrue and without foundation”.

“I will have more to say on these matters in the new year,” Mr Bone wrote.

He was suspended from the Conservative Party, after having the whip removed, and was sitting as an independent.

Mr Bone had held the seat for the Conservatives since 2005 and retained it at the last general election in 2019 with a majority of 18,540.

Labour’s chair, Anneliese Dodds, said the result of the recall petition showed “Wellingborough is ready for change”.

She said Mr Bone “has dragged his constituents through a lengthy recall petition rather than doing the right thing and offering his resignation”.

Labour has picked councillor Gen Kitchen as its candidate for the seat, while the Lib Dems have selected former Northamptonshire Police officer Ana Savage Gunn.

The coming by-election in Wellingborough will be the 20th such vote to be held since the last general election in 2019.

There have been six by-elections so far this year, with Labour winning four, and the Lib Dems and Conservatives each taking one.

The prime minister suffered major blows in the Tamworth and Selby and Ainsty by-elections, when Labour overturned majorities of more than 20,000 to take the seats.

Last month, an investigation by Parliament’s behavioural watchdog, the Independent Expert Panel, found Mr Bone broke sexual misconduct rules by indecently exposing himself to a staff member during an overseas trip.

It also upheld five allegations of bullying, including verbally belittling the member of staff, physically striking him and throwing things at him.

Mr Bone appealed against the investigation’s findings, arguing it had been flawed. However, his appeal was dismissed.

The staff member told the BBC “physical, emotional and psychological abuse” by the MP left him a “broken shell of the young man I once was”.

Mr Bone has denied the allegations.

Who is Peter Bone?

  • The 71-year-old has been active in Tory politics since the 1970s but did not make it to the Commons until 2005
  • A prominent Brexit-supporter, he campaigned with Nigel Farage in the 2016 referendum
  • He turned Wellingborough from an ultra-marginal into a safe Conservative seat, with an 18,540 majority at the 2019 election
  • A leading voice on the right of the Conservative Party, he briefly served as deputy Commons leader under Boris Johnson


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