The Labour party is increasing efforts to call for a new election before the vote on Wednesday to temporarily remove Peter Bone from his position in parliament for six weeks.
The Conservative whip was taken away from Bone after a watchdog discovered that he had bullied and harassed a staff member and also exposed his genitals near their face.
An independent expert panel recommended his suspension from parliament in their report, and the standards committee confirmed it. However, the suspension must be approved by the Commons in order to be implemented.
Bone denies any wrongdoing and said in a statement last week that he would continue serving the people of Wellingborough, the Northamptonshire seat of which he has been MP since 2005 and which he won with a 19,000 majority at the last election.
The Guardian has learned that the vote to expel him from parliament is scheduled for Wednesday, but there will not be a discussion.
If the suggested suspension is longer than 10 days, it would cause a petition in his position. This petition, if signed by over 10% of voters within six weeks, would result in a byelection being announced.
The vote is almost guaranteed to be approved, although Bone’s allies hinted that he may have some supporters who are understanding of his stance.
Sources from the Labour party stated that they were currently making preparations to kick off a campaign to urge voters in Wellingborough to sign the petition. One source commented, “If I were Peter Bone, I wouldn’t be at ease.”
A member of Parliament from the Conservative party in a neighboring district stated: “I predict they will easily meet the [10%] goal.”
Scottish Labour was able to trigger a byelection in a different constituency after successfully bidding for it. This happened because the MP representing Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Margaret Ferrier, was suspended for more than 10 days and 15% of eligible constituents signed a petition to recall her. As a result, Labour won the byelection in that constituency.
Last week, Bone has made an effort to stay involved in his area of representation. He posted a photo on X (formerly known as Twitter) of himself distributing flyers for a council candidate.
Conservative Members of Parliament are preparing for the upcoming vote on Wednesday and are aware that choosing to abstain or not vote may make them vulnerable to criticism from opposing parties. In the past, there have been instances of notable absences, such as Rishi Sunak’s decision not to vote on a report revealing that Boris Johnson had breached parliamentary rules five times.
These problems are typically seen as a “vote of conscience,” where party leaders do not dictate how members of their party should vote. However, this tradition was temporarily suspended when Prime Minister Johnson’s government instructed MPs to protect one of their colleagues, Owen Paterson, from suspension after he was found to have violated lobbying regulations.
According to sources, two Conservative Members of Parliament are getting ready to resign from the standards committee, which has implications for the ethics oversight of parliament.
Charles Walker and Andy Carter have intentions to prioritize their backbench goals, as two highly desired positions on the bipartisan committee responsible for investigating accusations of misconduct by MPs are available.
– Some potential replacements for the individuals include Philip Dunne, a previous whip and minister, as well as Michael Ellis.
– The idea of Ellis being chosen has caused concern among certain MPs due to his strong support of Johnson during the Partygate controversy.