|Member of Parliament |
|Assumed office |
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Paul Stinchcombe|
Peter William Bone
19 October 1952
Billericay, Essex, England
Jeanette Sweeney (m. 1981)
|Residence||Rushden, Northamptonshire, England|
|Education||Westcliff High School for Boys|
Peter William Bone FCA (born 19 October 1952) is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Wellingborough. He is an outspoken critic of the European Union. He campaigned for Brexit in the EU Referendum and is part of the political advisory board of Leave Means Leave.
Early life and education
In 1995, according to The Guardian, Bone was described as Britain's "meanest boss" by the Daily Mirror when he defended paying a 17-year-old trainee at Palm Travel (West) 87p an hour. By way of context, the average wage was over £8 per hour in 1995. While appearing on the British satirical television programme Have I Got News for You, Bone, to laughter, said the Mirror's claim was "wholly correct" but pointed out that the wage in question was part of a "government training scheme", paying "£30 a week".
In 1978, Bone was elected as a councillor for the Blenheim ward on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, where he served for eight years until 1986. He was elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Southend West Conservative Association in 1977 and continued in the position until 1984. In 1982, he became press secretary to the Conservative MP Paul Channon.
He unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary seat of Islwyn in the South Wales valleys at the 1992 general election against the then Leader of the Opposition Neil Kinnock. He subsequently fought the European Parliament election in 1994 for Mid and West Wales coming third and suffering a swing against his party of 7.5%.
Bone was a member of the National Union Executive Committee between 1993 until 1996. He was chosen for the seemingly safe Conservative seat of Pudsey following the retirement of the veteran MP Giles Shaw at the 1997 general election but lost following a swing of 13.20% to the Labour's Paul Truswell, compared to a national swing of 10% from Conservative to Labour.
In the 2001 general election he fought the ultra-marginal seat of Wellingborough, where the sitting Labour MP Paul Stinchcombe was holding on with a majority of just 187, having defeated the veteran Tory MP Peter Fry in 1997. Stinchcombe held on to his seat by 2,355, a swing of 2.1% to Labour compared with a national swing of 1.75% to the Conservatives. However, four years later, in the 2005 general election, Bone ousted Stinchcombe in Wellingborough with a majority of 687 votes, a swing of 2.9% compared to a national swing of 3.1% to the Conservatives. He made his maiden speech on 7 June 2005.
Early on in his career he was described as one of the most active MPs in Parliament, in terms of Questions asked and other contributions. However, the quality of those interventions was questioned in a 2006 article in The Times about the Theyworkforyou website. Bone was one of three MPs specifically alleged to have "boosted their ratings on the internet by saying very little, very often." Among his 109 speeches was one which ran to three short sentences (standing up for Royal Mail in that a sub-postmaster in Little Irchester had the only business in the village). He regularly referenced his then wife "Mrs Bone" in question's to the Prime Minister's Questions.
Bone is a member of the 1922 Committee and was an executive member from 2007 to 2012. In April 2012, The Daily Telegraph reported that the modernising "301 Group" was planning a coup to replace Bone and others. Bone was voted off the executive in May 2012.
Although Bone was not mentioned in the 2009 Legg Report that was central to the official investigation into the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal and therefore was not one of the 343 MPs required to pay back any money, he was subject to some later controversies relating to his expenses. He was one of 32 MPs who claimed the maximum allowance of £4,800 a year for food in 2010 and came under investigation in 2014 for expenses claims relating to the upkeep of his second home. In 2016 he was reported to be one of 26 MPs who had expenses debts of up to £500 written off after failing to pay them by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and in 2016 was criticised for using the government's help-to-buy scheme, which was meant to help young first time buyers, to buy himself a new constituency home.
Bone proposed a bill in July 2013, arguing that the August Bank Holiday should be renamed to Margaret Thatcher Day to commemorate her premiership. The bill ran out of time, due to filibustering by Labour MPs and formally ended its passage through Parliament in 2014.
In February 2014, The Times newspaper reported that Bone had been under investigation by the Police for the previous 12 months relating to an alleged £100,000 fraud concerning benefit payments of care home fees for his mother-in-law. Bone issued a lengthy statement denying fraud allegations. In March 2014 the Crown Prosecution Service said it had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.
In February 2018, following the announcement that Northamptonshire County Council had brought in a "section 114" notice, putting it in special measures following a crises in its finances, Bone was one of seven local MPs who released a statement arguing that the problems with the authority were down to mismanagement from the Conservative councillors who led it rather than funding cuts from the Conservative Government. They further argued that government commissioners should take over the running of the Council.
In Parliament, he serves on the Procedure Committee, the Committee on Exiting the European Union and the Panel of Chairs. He has previously been a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee, the Health Select Committee, the Backbench Business Committee, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the Commons Committee on Statutory Instruments.
Before they separated, Bone employed his wife, Jennie, as his executive secretary. In 2007–2008 he paid her "in the top bracket of up to £40,000" per annum. The practice of MPs employing family members has been criticised by some sections of the media, on the lines that it promotes nepotism. Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective - meaning that Bone's employment of his wife was lawful.
In June 2018, Bone defended fellow Conservative MP Christopher Chope after he was widely criticised for blocking a government-backed bid to make it illegal to take photos of people aimed up their skirts. Bone argued that Chope was "a great parliamentarian and public servant".
Bone is regarded as being on the right wing of the Conservative Party, and is a member of the socially conservative Cornerstone Group. He has suggested major constitutional changes such as abolition of the Whips office and confirmation of new Cabinet appointees. His criticisms of the NHS include a 2007 report in which he argued that it "would not be out of place in Stalin's Russia". He has voted to lower the abortion time limit to twelve weeks and voted against abolishing the offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. He has urged the Charity Commission to award the tax breaks of registration to any legal faith group. The abortion time limit vote failed, the blasphemy vote passed, and tax breaks were not awarded.
Bone opposed the introduction of the National Minimum Wage, which he claimed would "condemn hundreds of thousands to the dole queue", and later backed a private member's bill tabled by his colleague Christopher Chope proposing to enable employees to opt out of the minimum wage.
Bone described government proposals to introduce same-sex marriage rights as "completely nuts". He subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
In 2013, Bone was one of four MPs who camped outside Parliament in a move to facilitate parliamentary debate on what they called an "Alternative Queen's Speech" – an attempt to show what a future Conservative government might deliver. 42 policies were listed including reintroduction of the death penalty and conscription, privatizing the BBC, banning the burka in public places and preparation to leave the European Union. The Daily Telegraph believes the whips sent Edward Leigh to try to persuade the group not to table the amendments. Bone blamed the Liberal Democrats for tying David Cameron's hands.
A prominent Eurosceptic, Bone has often been named as a potential defector to the United Kingdom Independence Party. Bone described UKIP's emergence as a "good thing for British politics", and criticised his own party for "neglecting" the views of traditional Conservatives on other issues such as immigration, but said he intended to campaign for withdrawal from the EU from within the Conservative Party. Bone is a director of Grassroots Out and was a director of the now dissolved Go Movement Limited with Nigel Farage and Tom Pursglove.
In 2009, Bone said: "We have gone from having one of the best health services in the Western world to arguably the worst", which had "centralised and Stalinist management".
Bone primarily lives in London, but also owns a house in Rushden. He married Jeanette Sweeney in 1981; together they had two sons and a daughter. Bone separated from his wife, who is a Conservative Councillor in the Borough of Wellingborough and his Executive Secretary, in 2016 and is now in a relationship with physiotherapist Helen Harrison.
Bone played cricket as a left-arm bowler for Cambridge Methodists Cricket Club in Leeds, and has tweeted in the past of his matches playing with Wellingborough Old Grammarians 3rd XI, despite not actually being a member of the club. Bone has also played cricket as a member of a Parliamentarians team, alongside Crispin Blunt and Hugh Robertson. He is an active member of the Church of England and attends St Mary's Church in Rushden, as well as holding constituency surgeries in the church hall.
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- "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave.
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- "MPs decide (eventually) to allow UK Youth Parliament to meet in Commons". Liberal Democrat Voice. 17 March 2009.
- "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). House of Commons Members Estimate Committee. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- Hope, Christopher (18 June 2009). "MPs' expenses: more than 30 MPs charged the taxpayer £4,800 annually for food". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "Conservative MP Peter Bone faces expenses inquiry". BBC News. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- "26 MPs named and shamed for failing to pay back expenses". Metro. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- "Help to buy is riddled with loopholes that the privileged can easily exploit". The Guardian. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- "Margaret Thatcher Day Bill". Hansard Online. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
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- "Margaret Thatcher Day Bill 2013-14". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Cameron's hand tied by Lib Dems – Tory MP Peter Bone". BBC News. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- Andrew Norfolk (25 February 2014). "Tory MP is quizzed over £100,00 benefits fraud". The Times. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "In full: Wellingborough and Rushden MP Peter Bone’s statement denying fraud allegations" Northants Telegraph
- Evans, Martin (25 March 2014). "MP Peter Bone will not face charges over care home fees". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "Northamptonshire MPs call for county council takeover". BBC News. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
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- "REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS (prepared pursuant to Resolution of the House of 27 March 2008)". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
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- "MP who blocked upskirting ban has office strewn with women's underwear". Politics Home. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- Savage, Michael (17 August 2009). "Cameron woe deepens over NHS dissent". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "Peter Bone MP: Religious institutions should not be under attack from the Charity Commission".
- Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - Science and Technology - Twelfth Report". www.publications.parliament.uk.
- "Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill: Blasphemy — 6 May 2008 at 21:45 — The Public Whip". www.publicwhip.org.uk.
- "Gay wedding plans 'completely nuts' – Peter Bone MP". BBC News. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "The full list of MPs voting for or against the government's same-sex marriage legislation". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Robert Watts (20 June 2013). "Conservative MPs launch attempt to bring back death penalty, privatise the BBC, rename the August bank holiday "Margaret Thatcher Day" and ban burka". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- Bone, Peter (20 November 2014). "I remain a Tory, but Ukip is a good thing". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "Cameron woe deepens over NHS dissent". The Independent. 17 August 2009.
- Rayner, Gordon (12 January 2018). "Why the legendary Mrs Bone will no longer be a fixture in Parliamentary debates". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- "Cambridge Methodists CC - Weekend XI Vs Leeds Doctors - 1st XI". Cambridge Methodists. 5 September 2010.
- "Almondbury Casuals Cricket Club Match Report" (PDF). Almondbury Casuals Cricket Club. 8 July 2007.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "His player stats for Wellingborough OGs CC". Archived from the original on 25 February 2014.
- "Parliamentarians narrowly beat Lichfield Diocese". Jeremy Lefroy. 11 June 2011.
- "Peter Bone MP on wellingboroughconservatives.org". Archived from the original on 15 September 2012.
- Peter Bone MP biography at the site of the Conservative Party
- Wellingborough Conservatives
- BBC Politics page
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Contributions in Parliament during 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 at Hansard Archives
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Wellingborough