Rishi Sunak faces the prospect of another by-election after MPs approved a six week suspension for Peter Bone, who is accused of bullying and sexual misconduct against a staff member.
The House of Commons approved the sanction against the MP for Wellingborough, who is sitting as an independent after losing the Conservative whip over the allegations earlier this month.
A recall petition is now being arranged for his constituency of Wellingborough. If 10 per cent of voters sign the recall petition, a by-election will be held.
Bone was elected at the last general election with a majority of 18,540, smaller than recent Conservative by-election defeats in Tamworth (19,634), Mid Bedfordshire (24,644), Somerton (19,213) and Selby (20,137).
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Polling indicates Bone’s Wellingborough seat could flip to Labour.
Bone’s suspension had been recommend by Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) after it found the MP had broken sexual misconduct rules by indecently exposing himself to the staffer during an overseas trip.
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.
The MP said the allegations were “false and untrue” and “without foundation” last week.
He said: “As I have maintained throughout these proceedings, none of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place. They are false and untrue claims”.
It came after 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.
The report found he “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” the employee and “repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him.
The complainant at the centre of the case has told the BBC it 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.
“They call it a siege mentality in terms of the relentless shouting, the screaming, the hitting.”
Shadow leader of the House of Commons Lucy Powell has called for Bone to resign.
She said: “The people of Wellingborough deserve an MP they can be proud of. The country deserves the change that only Labour can bring.”
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