Steerpike Steerpike

Peter Bone recalled as by-election looms

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Merry Christmas, Rishi Sunak. With parliament rising for recess, some in No. 10 might have been hoping to put their feet up, now that the PM’s Liaison Committee grilling is out of the way. But tonight an unwelcome gift has been dropped at Sunak’s feet: his party will shortly be facing a by-election in the Northamptonshire seat of Wellingborough.

The reason? Another Tory MP accused of behaving badly. Back in October, Peter Bone was suspended from the Commons for six weeks for committing ‘many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct’ against a member of his staff way back in 2012 and 2013. The suspension of more than ten days triggered a recall petition, which his Wellingborough constituents have only been too keen to sign.

For tonight, the local council has announced that the threshold of 7,940 votes – 10 per cent of eligible registered voters – has been met. The timing of the ensuing by-election is yet to be determined, though the Tory whips will be keen to ensure it occurs at the least possible damaging moment for Sunak and his beleaguered troops. Talk about a new year bringing new headaches…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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