he Conservative government might have to defend another seat in a byelection depending on what action is taken over MP Peter Bone — in addition to the two seats being fought this week.
Mr Bone, the Tory member for Wellingborough, faces a six-week suspension for alleged bullying and sexual misconduct. The punishment was suggested by Parliament’s behaviour watchdog but will need to be voted through the lower house to be upheld.
The accusations include reports of him “trapping” a member of staff in a hotel room and exposing himself, asking for massages, and putting the complainant’s hands in his lap.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct against the prominent Brexiter. The alleged behaviour, which Mr Bone denies, happened 10 years ago.
Mr Bone appealed the panel’s decision, but this was dismissed. Mr Bone, who was appointed deputy leader of the House of Commons by Boris Johnson, said the allegations are “false and untrue” and “without foundation” as he vowed to continue representing his constituents.
Mr Bone could face a recall petition from his constituents where, if more than 10 per cent of voters sign, a by-election would be held.
While this event is speculative at the moment, there is the very real prospect of losing two seats this week, with seats held by departing MPs Nadine Dorries and Chris Pincher being fought for.
The Tories have faced by-elections over the summer, winning Uxbridge and South Ruislip, but saw Labour win Selby and Ainsty, and the Liberal Democrats take Somerton and Frome.
In addition, Labour won the Scottish seats of Rutherglen and Hamilton West over the SNP.
Where and when are the by-elections?
Mid-Bedfordshire will be contested on October 19
Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner Festus Akinbusoye has been selected as the Conservative candidate. He will take on Labour’s Alistair Strathern, Emma Holland-Lindsay of the Liberal Democrats, Dave Holland of Reform UK, and Green candidate Cade Sibley.
Nadine Dorries, a Boris Johnson loyalist, resigned from her Mid-Bedfordshire seat and launched a stunning attack against Mr Sunak in August.
She said in her resignation letter: “It is a fact that there is no affection for Keir Starmer out on the doorstep. He does not have the winning X factor qualities of a Thatcher, a Blair, or a Boris Johnson, and sadly, Prime Minister, neither do you.”
She has said she had written a book titled The Plot: The Political Assassination Of Boris Johnson, which led her to conclude she could no longer remain as a backbench MP.
Tamworth will also be on October 19
The Tories have lined up Andrew Cooper, a member of Tamworth Borough Council, while Labour have announced Sarah Edwards, and the Lib Dems have Sunny Kirk. There is also independent Richard Kingstone, and Reform UK hopeful Ian Cooper.
Pincher also agreed to stand aside last month. He had sought to reduce a potentially by-election-triggering eight-week suspension recommended by the Commons Standards Committee for what was found to be an “egregious case of sexual misconduct” at London’s exclusive Carlton Club last year.
The Standards Committee found in July that Mr Pincher’s conduct last summer was “profoundly damaging” and amounted to an abuse of power.
Why are the by-elections taking place?
A by-election takes place when one of the following happens. An MP:
- resigns or dies
- is declared bankrupt
- takes a seat in the House of Lords
- is convicted of a serious criminal offence
In both cases this time around, the incumbent MP has resigned.