Conservative MP Says He 'Feels Sorry' For Colleague Who Watched Porn In Commons

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Neil Parish during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.  (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media)
Neil Parish during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media)

Neil Parish during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media)

A Conservative MP says he “feels sorry” for a colleague who was forced to quit after he admitted watching porn in the House of Commons.

Neil Parish’s political career came to an abrupt end after it emerged he was the Tory accused by female MPs of viewing inappropriate material in parliament.

He admitted to the BBC on Saturday that he had twice watched adult content on his phone, claiming the first time was accidental after looking at tractors online.

The select committee chairman had initially vowed to continue as MP for Tiverton and Honiton but said he would quit after recognising the “furore” and “damage” he was causing his family and constituency.

Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris suspended Parish from the parliamentary Conservative Party on Friday afternoon - three days after female Tory MPs first raised complaints of a male colleague watching porn on his phone in the Commons chamber.

Parish’s resignation means there will now be a by-election in his Devon seat, which he retained for the Tories at the last election with a majority of 24,239.

Despite his dramatic fall from grace, Parish today received the support of Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP for Lichfeld.

He tweeted: “Actually, I feel sorry for Neil. There. I’ve said it.”

Friends of Parish have reportedly claimed he was searching for a “Dominator” combine harvester when he first viewed porn in the Commons.

Before being identified as the MP at the centre of the storm, Parish was asked about the allegations during an appearance on GB News.

He was non-committal on whether the suspect should have the whip removed and denied there was a large cultural problem in Westminster, despite senior Conservative colleagues having decried it as being “shameful”.

“We’ve got some 650 members of parliament in what is a very intense area,” Mr Parish said.

“We are going to get people that step over the line. I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture here but I think it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously and that’s what the whips will do.”

Earlier today, a minister poured cold water on suggestions that the Tory candidate to replace Parish should be drawn from an all-women shortlist.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan told Sky News: “I’ve never been in favour of shortlists and quotas. We’ve get more women in parliament by encouraging them, by breaking down barriers.

“We don’t do it by putting in quotas which I find quite demeaning to women.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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