Peter Bone: ex-Tory MP's behaviour left alleged complainant 'broken shell' - what did former staff member say?
Peter Bone - who has had the Tory whip removed - has denied the allegations saying the claims are "false and untrue" and “without foundation”.
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The alleged victim of former Tory MP Peter Bone has spoken out saying that his “physical, emotional, psychological abuse” left him a "broken shell".
It comes as the former former minister faces a vote by MPs today on whether he should be suspended from the Commons for the recommended six weeks. If approved by MPs, this could lead to Bone – who has had the Tory whip removed – facing a recall petition that would pave the way for another possible by-election. Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) said the Wellingborough MP “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013. Bone has denied the allegations saying the claims are "false and untrue" and “without foundation”, and has vowed to continue representing his constituents.
What has the alleged complainant said?
Speaking to BBC News, the alleged complainant – who remains anonymous – spoke about the alleged “physical, emotional, psychological abuse” he had endured. The former aide also criticised the handling of his complaint by the Conservatives, claiming he was “effectively ghosted” by the party.
The complainant's father had first complained to David Cameron in 2015, and the alleged victim then made a formal complaint with Theresa May in 2017. However, the Conservative Party had still not resolved the case by August 2022, when complainant withdrew so Parliamentary authorities could investigate. In the mean time, Bone had been made deputy chief whip by Boris Johnson.
The alleged complainant said that the experience had seen him being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “It unfortunately became this horrid, brutal, dark experience that left me a broken shell of the young man I once was,” the alleged complainant said.
“Peter’s behaviour was erratic. His temper was often explosive. I described it as like a, like a pendulum. He would go from one type of, kind of, personality to another. It was very hard to predict. And that kind of… left me feeling quite under siege… a kind of siege mentality in terms of the relentless shouting, the screaming, the hitting.
“The physical, emotional, psychological abuse as well as what happened later was just constantly on my mind. It was relentless to be honest.”
He also claimed he was “never given a clear timeline of events or even an estimated one” regarding his complaint to the Conservatives. I was left in this kind of limbo. I was effectively ghosted for three years by the party.”
What are the allegations?
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct. The report said:
- Allegation 1: Bone “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” the complainant, and this was bullying.
- Allegation 2: Bone “repeatedly physically struck and threw things at” the complainant, and this was bullying.
- Allegation 3: Bone “imposed an unwanted and humiliating ritual on” the complainant, namely instructing, or physically forcing, the complainant to put his hands in his lap when Bone was unhappy with him or his work; and this was bullying.
- Allegation 4.2: Bone “repeatedly pressurised [the complainant] to give him a massage in the office” and this was bullying, but not sexual misconduct.
- Allegation 4.3: Mr Bone indecently exposed himself to the complainant on an overseas trip, initially in the bathroom of the hotel room they were sharing and then in the bedroom. The Commissioner concluded this was sexual misconduct.
- Allegation 5: ostracised the complainant following the events subject to Allegation 4.3, and this was bullying.
The IEP said: "This is a serious case of misconduct. [Bone] has been found to have committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct. The bullying involved violence, shouting and swearing, mocking, belittling and humiliating behaviour, and ostracism. It was often in front of others ... the respondent specifically targeted the complainant."
It continued: "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, not knowing what was going to happen next. This was a deliberate and conscious abuse of power using a sexual mechanism: indecent exposure.
What has Peter Bone said?
In a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Bone said: “Today the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has published a report finding me guilty of misconduct. As I have maintained throughout these proceedings, none of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place. They are false and untrue claims. They are without foundation.
“The allegations by an ex-employee refer to events of more than 10 years ago that spanned no more than a few months. The complainant first made the allegations years after they left my employment. They did not raise them at any time during their employment, either in writing or verbally with me, nor with their line managers.
“I am not permitted under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) process to fully respond to the allegations in public. Nor can I detail my views on the huge inconsistencies and lack of evidence in the allegations, or highlight areas that proved the allegations were factually false.
“However I can say that the allegations are the only allegations at all made against me throughout my work as an MP and beyond. Witness statements were submitted from ten employees (current and former) of the highest integrity, testifying to the professional, accommodating and friendly place my office is to work. Many others would be prepared to testify the same.
“I am also firmly of the opinion that on this occasion the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme investigation was flawed, procedurally unfair and didn’t comply with its own rules and regulations. It is my belief that they have operated outside of the powers given to them by Parliament and I am currently discussing with lawyers what action could and should be taken."
What have the Conservatives said?
A Conservative spokesperson told the broadcaster that the case had been investigated under the party’s previous code of conduct and complaints process. The party said that the alleged complainant had withdrawn from the process before the case was heard.
“Under the current process, the complainant’s case would have been referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme as it is a workplace matter, not a party matter,” the spokesperson told the BBC.
Five allegations about Mr Bone were made by the Westminster staffer in October 2021, with a complaint to then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 going unresolved, according to the IEP report.