A motion was passed in the House of Commons on Wednesday (October 25) to suspend Mr Bone from parliament for six weeks for five counts of bullying and one of sexual misconduct as found by parliament’s Independent Experts Panel (IEP).
The public now must vote on whether they want to remove him as their MP. If ten per cent of registered voters in the constituency sign the petition, Mr Bone’s 18 years as an MP will end. It will then lead to a by-election in the North Northamptonshire constituency.
The prospect of a new MP in the area has split public decision, with some people feeling that Mr Bone did a lot for his constituents in his time in office, while others would be glad he is removed. In the case of a by-election, many people simply don’t know who they will vote for.
One resident, Michael Wainwright, said that he would sign the recall petition to take away Mr Bone’s seat. He said: “I never forgave him for being one of the five Tory MPs to vote against the minimum wage. Personally, I don’t think he ever did anything for Wellingborough.”
When asked who he would vote for in a possible by-election, he said: “I honestly don’t know, I don’t know if I’d even bother to vote. Apart from Monster Raving Loony party – at least you know they’re loony.”
The suspended MP has already faced backlash within his own party following the investigation into his alleged misconduct and had the Tory whip removed last week on October 17.
Mr Bone denies the allegations from his former staffer that he verbally abused him, struck him, and indecently exposed himself to the aide back in 2012-13. He has not yet commented publicly about the suspension, only posting a written statement on X refuting the claims.
Ognyan Vaslev, a Wellingborough resident who has never voted for Mr Bone, said that he hoped the by-election would go ahead and that someone else would be elected. He said: “I think it’s going to be better – whoever it is will most likely be much better than that. I would never vote for him.”
Wellingborough has long been a Conservative stronghold, with Mr Bone remaining a member of parliament for the area since 2005. At the last 2019 election, he won with a 19,000 majority.
More than 8,000 people would need to sign the recall petition – at a signing station, by post or by proxy – to activate a by-election. Mr Bone would then be able to stand again as an independent, alongside other candidates in the region if he chooses.
If the threshold is not met, the MP will keep his seat. Labour does not yet have a parliamentary candidate running for the constituency.
One resident, who supported Mr Bone when he was in office, said that she doesn’t know which way she will vote at this point. She added: “Possibly I’d be looking to vote for someone else.
“I am not happy with the situation and his conduct as an upstanding member of society- it’s not acceptable. He has done a lot for me over the years.
“If it is proven absolutely without a doubt that this took place then yes my opinion will change. I don’t like to make rash decisions, so when the time comes I will make my decision then.”
North Northamptonshire Council have confirmed the dates of the recall petition as November 8 to December 19. The count will be completed within 24 hours after the polls close, and if Mr Bone’s time as an MP ends a by-election is likely to take place any time from late January.