The Conservatives have chosen Peter Bone’s partner as their candidate to replace him as the MP for Wellingborough after he was found to have bullied and harassed a member of his staff.
Helen Harrison will be the Tory candidate for the Northamptonshire seat, the party chair announced on Sunday, after a meeting of local Conservative members.
A date has not been set yet for the byelection, which was triggered after more than 10% of local voters signed a petition to recall him in the aftermath of the revelations about his behaviour.
It is one of at least two difficult forthcoming byelections for the Tories after the announcement by Chris Skidmore on Friday that he intends to stand down as an MP for Kingswood near Bristol in protest over the government’s energy policy.
Richard Holden, the Conservative party chair, tweeted on Sunday: “Congratulations to Cllr @helenharrisonuk on being selected for #Wellingborough at a packed meeting of @Conservatives members this afternoon.”
The Sunday Times reported that Bone had threatened to stand as an independent if the Tories did not include Harrison on their shortlist of candidates. Bone denied that report, but said it would be “entirely unsurprising” if Harrison, who serves as a councillor on North Northamptonshire council, were selected.
Jonathan Ashworth, a shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “Rishi Sunak caving to Peter Bone’s demand to select his partner so he doesn’t run as an independent shows just how weak the prime minister is. Rishi Sunak is too weak to lead his own party, let alone the country.
“The people of Wellingborough deserve the best possible candidate to represent them, not the product of a quick political fix. Only Labour can deliver the change the voters want to see and give Britain its future back.”
Bone had a majority of nearly 20,000, but Labour held the seat from 1997 to 2005.
Bone was recalled after the parliamentary watchdog found he had broken the MPs’ code of conduct on four counts of bullying and one of sexual misconduct. The panel upheld an earlier report that found he had repeatedly hit and verbally abused a member of his staff, asked him for massages and on one occasion put his bare genitals in the other man’s face.
A Little Thought
It is simply scandalous that The Conservative Party have decided that the partner will be their chosen candidate.
The partner is female surprisingly as his accuser was male and from all accounts had an unusual working relationship as in shared hotel rooms etc.
You can read more on the allegation here - the article was prior to the suspension and deselection but gives you a flavour of the allegations.