Ex-minister Peter Bone has been accused of charging taxpayers hundreds of pounds for his partner’s travel, days after being stripped of the Tory whip.
The disgraced Wellingborough MP had the whip removed from him earlier this week after an investigation found he bullied and sexually harassed a former aide. The 70-year-old exposed himself to an aide on a business trip and demanded office massages, according to the Independent Expert Panel.
It has now emerged that he faces accusations that he claimed expenses for journeys made by his partner, Helen Harrison, a physio 20 years his junior.
It was widely reported that he entered into a relationship with Ms Harrison, his senior Parliamentary assistant until July 2021, back in 2018. He subsequently left his wife, Jenny Bone, whom he would famously mention in the House of Commons.
According to Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) records, Mr Bone made a request for £168 to cover two rail trips between Kettering and London, and his current constituency of Wellingborough and London, in addition to £77.20 to cover parking under ‘partner travel’.
IPSA records show that he claimed £227.50 for four return trips by train between Wellingborough and London, as well as £42 in parking in 2021/22.
Peter Bone (pictured) faces accusations that he claimed expenses for journeys made by his partner, Helen Harrison, a physio 20 years his junior
The IPSA rules state that MPs are able to claim expenses for their ‘spouse or partner’s [travel] between their constituency and London’.
It comes as Mr Bone faces losing his seat as the length of the ban following the removal of the whip – if approved by MPs – will trigger a recall petition, which could lead to a fresh local vote.
Five allegations by a Westminster staffer were made about Mr Bone in October 2021, having had a complaint to then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 unresolved, according to the IEP report.
The standards watchdog ruled he had ‘committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct’ against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013.
It said he was verbally abused and hit with a rolled-up document and subjected to an ‘unwanted and humiliating ritual’ where he was forced him to sit with his hands in his lap when the MP was unhappy with his work
Mr Bone said earlier this week that the allegations against him were ‘false and untrue’ and made by an ex-employee who made them ‘years after leaving my unemployment’. He suggested he was seeking legal advice.
Mr Bone faces losing his seat as the length of the ban following the removal of the whip – if approved by MPs – will trigger a recall petition, which could lead to a fresh local vote
He gained a reputation for mentioning ‘Mrs Bone’ – his wife Jenny – in the House of Commons, but they split in 2018 after he left her for Helen Harrison, a married physiotherapist 20 years his junior
But the panel said he had demonstrated a ‘wilful pattern of bullying (that) also included an unwanted incident of sexual misconduct.’
MPs are liable to face a recall petition in their seat if a ban of more than 10 sitting days is agreed by a vote of the Commons. The petition needs to be signed by at least 10 per cent of the electorate.
If it passes the threshold it would pave the way for a by-election, the latest to take place in a Tory seat.