A minister was seen participating in a campaign with former Conservative MP Peter Bone, who was recently suspended from parliament due to an investigation revealing his involvement in both bullying and sexual misconduct.
Tom Pursglove, a member of the Department for Work and Pensions, was captured on camera by the Sunday Mirror while campaigning in Northamptonshire alongside Bone just two days after his penalty was approved by Members of Parliament.
The suspension of Bone was authorized without a vote following an investigation that revealed he had engaged in harassment and bullying towards a staff member, as well as exposing his genitals near their face.
When asked for a statement by the newspaper, the Conservative minister declined to comment on whether it was suitable for him to be campaigning with a suspended Member of Parliament. According to the Mirror, Bone stated, “I would be happy to speak with you, but we are currently out canvassing. Have a pleasant day.”
The second cabinet minister, Michelle Donelan, who holds the position of science secretary, joined the education secretary Gillian Keegan in denying any cultural issues within the Conservative party. This comes after Crispin Blunt became the eighth Conservative MP to have the whip withdrawn due to sexual misconduct allegations during this parliamentary term.
Blunt, a previous minister of justice and current MP for Reigate, was taken into custody by authorities on Wednesday for allegations of rape and drug possession. He has been released on bail. In a statement, he expressed confidence in being cleared and mentioned an accusation of “extortion” that he had previously reported to the police.
When questioned about the amount of MPs who were removed from their political party due to the culture in parliament, Donelan stated that while it may be a small number, it is still unacceptable and should not be allowed. She also mentioned that the atmosphere in the Commons does not support or promote this kind of conduct.
Blunt has been suspended after a series of separate incidents where Conservative MPs have been removed from their positions for accusations of sexual misconduct. Those affected include Julian Knight, Chris Pincher, David Warburton, Rob Roberts, Neil Parish, and Imran Ahmad Khan.
Pincher, the deputy chief whip for Boris Johnson, resigned from his position as a Member of Parliament after receiving an eight-week suspension from parliament. This came after an investigation revealed that he had groped two men at a private members’ club in 2022. The independent expert panel (IEP) of parliament confirmed accusations of bullying and sexual misconduct towards a staff member.
The committee discovered that Bone had verbally degraded, mocked, mistreated, and shamed an employee and frequently physically attacked and threw objects at them.
The investigation revealed that the MP not only exposed himself in an inappropriate manner, but also subjected the man to a degrading ritual by making him sit with his hands in his lap whenever the politician was dissatisfied with his work.
A petition for a recall, set to begin next month, will result in a special election if 10% of voters in the Wellingborough constituency sign it.
The Conservative party chose not to provide a statement.
The individual who filed the complaint in this case has informed the BBC that it was an awful, violent, and traumatizing ordeal that has left them feeling shattered and not the same person they used to be.
The Labour party has requested that Bone resign immediately in order to spare his constituents from the recall procedure.
The British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has admitted that the upcoming election in the constituency, which was previously won by Bone with a significant lead of 18,500 votes in 2019, could prove to be challenging for the Conservative party.