Tories pick Peter Bone’s partner to fight his old seaton January 7, 2024 at 5:07 pm

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North Northamptonshire councillor Helen Harrison becomes Tory candidate in Wellingborough by-election.

Peter BoneImage source, PA Media

The partner of ex-Conservative MP Peter Bone, Helen Harrison, has been selected to replace him as the Tory candidate in the Wellingborough by-election.

The by-election was triggered following Mr Bone’s suspension from the House of Commons over bullying and sexual misconduct claims.

Mr Bone, who was also suspended from the Conservative Party, has denied the allegations.

He was elected MP for Wellingborough in 2005 with a small majority of just 687.

Since then the Northamptonshire constituency has become a safe seat for the Conservatives, with Mr Bone winning an 18,000-strong majority in the 2019 general election.

The Wellingborough by-election will be the tenth Rishi Sunak has faced since becoming prime minister in October 2022.

The Conservatives will be hoping to hold on to the seat having last year lost previously-safe constituencies including Selby and Ainsty and Tamworth, where Labour was able to overturn majorities of more than 20,000.

Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden congratulated Ms Harrison on social media platform X, saying she had been selected at a “packed meeting of Conservative members” on Sunday afternoon.

Ms Harrison is a North Northamptonshire councillor where she represents the Oundle ward and sits on the Health and Wellbeing Board.

She previously ran for election to Parliament in 2017 in the Derbyshire constituency of Bolsover, attempted to unseat Labour veteran Dennis Skinner.

Responding to her selection, Labour shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth said: “Rishi Sunak caving to Peter Bone’s demand to select his partner so he doesn’t run as an independent shows just how weak the prime minister is.

“The people of Wellingborough deserve the best possible candidate to represent them, not the product of a quick political fix.”

Mr Bone was suspended from Parliament for six weeks after a report published by the MPs behaviour watchdog found he had broken sexual misconduct rules by indecently exposing himself to a staff member during an oversees trip.

It also upheld five allegations of bullying, including physically striking a member of staff.

Because Mr Bone was suspended from the House of Commons for more than 10 days, a recall petition was launched in Wellingborough.

The petition was signed by 13.2% of eligible voters, clearing the 10% threshold needed for Mr Bone to lose his seat and triggering a by-election.

Mr Bone labelled the process “bizarre” and called the allegations “totally untrue”.

The by-election is not expected to be held before February.

Other candidates for the election include Gen Kitchen for Labour, Ana Savage Gunn for the Liberal Democrats, Will Morris for the Green Party and Ben Habib for Reform UK.

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