After disgraced Tory MP Peter Bone was removed from his position due to sexual misconduct and bullying accusations, the Conservative Party were tasked with finding a replacement. Their choice? Bone’s partner Helen Harrison.
Conservatives Appoint Partner of Disgraced Tory MP as Replacement
The UK Conservative Party finds itself embroiled in a complex situation as it selected Helen Harrison, the partner of disgraced former MP Peter Bone, to run in a by-election aimed at replacing Bone. This development follows Bone’s shocking expulsion from Parliament in December after a series of troubling allegations, including indecent exposure and bullying, led to a recall petition supported by over 13% of eligible voters in his constituency.
As the Tories grapple with the aftermath of this scandal, things are further complicated by other impending by-elections and the recent resignation of Chris Skidmore, a former net zero tsar and energy minister.
A Controversial Departure
Peter Bone’s controversial exit from Parliament was marked by allegations of indecent exposure and a series of bullying incidents, leading to his expulsion. The Independent Expert Panel, Parliament’s standards watchdog, upheld claims of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct against the staunch Brexit supporter. T
he Independent Expert Panel noted that Bone had “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a staff member, creating a severe breach of the MPs’ code of conduct. The panel highlighted instances where Bone had “verbally belittled, ridiculed, abused and humiliated” an employee and “repeatedly physically struck and threw things” at him.
Bone, aged 71, had consistently denied these allegations. The recall petition, supported by 10,505 voters surpassing the 10% threshold, prompted the need for a by-election, intensifying the political climate in Wellingborough.
Tory Party’s Selection of Helen Harrison
The Conservative Party’s decision to select Helen Harrison, Bone’s girlfriend and a Tory councillor in Northamptonshire, as the candidate for the by-election has raised eyebrows and invited scrutiny. The move follows Bone’s threat to run as an independent if Harrison wasn’t added to the candidate shortlist.
Richard Holden, Tory Party chair, congratulated Harrison online, indicating the party’s commitment to her candidacy. The implications of this choice extend beyond the local constituency, impacting the party’s image and potential voter support.
Richard Holden stated, “Congratulations to Cllr @helenharrisonuk on being selected for #Wellingborough at a packed meeting of @Conservatives members this afternoon.” This public acknowledgment reaffirms the party’s stance on Harrison’s candidacy and sets the tone for the upcoming by-election.
Challenges and Precedents
Bone’s victory in the Wellingborough seat in 2019 by 18,540 votes showcased his popularity, but the recent scandal puts the Tories in a challenging position. The party has experienced defeats in by-elections with even larger majorities, and Labour’s success in overturning a majority of over 24,000 in Mid-Bedfordshire serves as a precedent. As the date for the by-election is yet to be set, the Tories face uncertainty in retaining the seat and must strategize to minimize potential damage.
Jonathan Ashworth, a shadow Cabinet Office minister, spoke of the significance of the situation, stating, “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.”
Upcoming By-Elections and Chris Skidmore’s Resignation
The Conservative Party faces not only the Wellingborough by-election but also upcoming challenges with Chris Skidmore’s resignation. Skidmore, a former Net Zero tsar and energy minister, expressed his disagreement with the government’s environmental stance, leading to his decision to stand down.
The Tories could struggle to hold Skidmore’s seat of Kingswood, given the majority of 11,000. He stated, “I could no longer continue as a Tory or ‘condone’ the government because the PM’s environmental stance is ‘wrong and will cause future harm’.”
The post Expelled MP Peter Bone Sees Partner Run for His Seat in Wellingborough first appeared on Edge Media.
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