The parliamentary commissioner for standards has upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct against Conservative MP Peter Bone.
Bone could now be banned from parliament for six weeks, paving the way for another potential by-election and headache for Rishi Sunak.
The Wellingborough MP, who served as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons in 2022, was found by parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which rules on complaints against MPs, to have “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013.
In a statement, Bone, 70, dismissed the IEP report as false and untrue.
“As I have maintained throughout these proceedings, none of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place,” he said.
“They are false and untrue claims. They are without foundation.”
He said the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) investigation into him “was flawed, procedurally unfair and didn’t comply with its own rules and regulations”.
The complaints included four allegations of bullying, detailing that Mr Bone “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” his employee and “repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him.
In its findings, the IEP said: “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.”
The Liberal Democrats have called for the prime minister to withdraw the Conservative whip from Bone.
Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said Britain deserves better than “endless Conservative Party sleaze and scandal”.
She added: “Rishi Sunak needs to remove the whip from Peter Bone and call on him to resign. There is no place anywhere in our society for this kind of sexual harassment and bullying.”
The recommended six-week suspension would trigger a recall petition if approved by parliament.
Bone has an 18,540 majority in the seat, smaller than that overturned by Labour MP Keir Mather in Selby and Ainsty in July.
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