Why the legendary Mrs Bone will no longer be a fixture in Parliamentary debates

Gordon Rayner
Peter Bone and his wife of 37 years have separated - Copyright (c) 2016 Rex Features. No use without permission.

Dad’s Army had Mrs Mainwaring, Minder had ‘Er Indoors - formidable matriarchs whose presence was keenly felt but who were never seen.

For almost a decade Parliament has had its own equivalent in the shape of Mrs Bone, wife of Wellingborough MP Peter Bone, who has been name-checked 60 times in debates by the likes of Theresa May, David Cameron and Speaker John Bercow.

But the days of Prime Ministers making cheeky references to “satisfying Mrs Bone” and “giving pleasure to Mrs Bone” are over after the 65-year-old MP announced they had separated and he is now in a relationship with a woman 20 years his junior.

Conservative Mr Bone is seeing married physiotherapist Helen Harrison, 45. Both are directors of the Brexit-supporting campaign group Grassroots Out.

The MP has been entertaining her at his taxpayer-funded flat in Westminster while Jenny Bone, 57, his wife of 37 years, has remained at the couple’s constituency home in Northamptonshire.

Peter Bone, pictured campaigning with Mrs Harrison Credit: Twitter

Mr Bone has said he and his wife have been living apart for more than two years, and it is understood that Mrs Bone, who works as his £45,000-a-year constituency secretary, recently moved out of the marital home.

Mrs Bone has been a regular off-stage presence in Parliament since the start of the decade, and was often referred to by David Cameron when he was Prime Minister.

In a debate in March 2011 Mr Bone said his wife was keen for Mr Cameron to rule out paying money for EU bailouts and asked him if he would “satisfy” Mrs Bone.

Mr Cameron replied that: “I am fast coming to the view that Mrs Bone is quite literally insatiable.”

Later the same year, in response to a similar question, he said: “I feel that a very big part of my life is trying to give pleasure to Mrs Bone.”

Theresa May also mentioned Mrs Bone in answer to a question in October 2016, but the next month Mr Bone made his last reference to his wife, referring to her as one of three local councillors whom he singled out for praise.

It now appears they had already separated by then, but other MPs seemed to be unaware, as both Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and Speaker John Bercow made jokes about Mrs Bone in the year that followed.

Helen Harrison campaigning with Michael Gove Credit: Twitter

Mrs Harrison, a Conservative campaigner and former parliamentary candidate, runs her own physiotherapy company and is married to builder Michael Harrison, of Corby, Northants., with two children aged 19 and 21.

On her Twitter profile, Mrs Harrison has posted pictures of herself campaigning in general elections and during the EU referendum with MPs including Mr Bone, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Peter Bone campaigned for Brexit alongside Nigel Farage Credit: John Robertson for The Telegraph

In recent weeks she has been a regular guest at Mr Bone’s £1.5 million London flat, for which he claims £1,629 per month in rent in parliamentary expenses.

Mr Bone, a church-going Christian, has two sons and a daughter with his wife, whom he married in 1981. He regularly appears in lists of the 10 most active parliamentarians because of his prolific contributions to debates.

After his affair was reported by The Sun newspaper, Mr Bone said: “My wife and I have been living apart for more than two years, during which time I have formed a relationship with Helen Harrison.

“Neither Helen nor I intend to make any further comment about this matter.”

Mrs Bone declined to comment.

The many mentions of Mrs Bone