Ex-MP Who Quit Over Porn-Watching Scandal Wants To Stand At The Next Election

Neil Parish's exit led to a by-election in Honiton and Tiverton, which the Lib Dems won with a 30% swing.
Neil Parish's exit led to a by-election in Honiton and Tiverton, which the Lib Dems won with a 30% swing.

Neil Parish's exit led to a by-election in Honiton and Tiverton, which the Lib Dems won with a 30% swing.

A former Tory MP who quit after watching porn in the House of Commons has said he wants to stand again at the next general election.

Neil Parish, who resigned his Devonshire seat last summer, said there was still “so much unfinished business” following his departure from parliament.

Parish, who represented Honiton and Tiverton, said that the first time he watched porn online had been accidental as he searched for tractors online.

But he admitted that on another occasion he had deliberately watched the material while waiting to vote in the Chamber.

His actions cost him his political career and triggered a by-election in the seat, which the Lib Dems won with a 30% swing.

Parish said after the result: “It’s a shame that I had to make such a terrible mistake and go in the way I had to go.”

Speaking to Times Radio, Parish said today that despite the nature of his exit, he was hoping to make a political comeback.

He told presenters Kate McCann and Adam Boulton: “At the moment I just don’t want to quite leave it.

“When you leave so suddenly like I had to, there is so much unfinished business. Therefore at the moment I don’t really want to leave it there... the seat that comes very close to my farm is the Tiverton and West Somerset seat.

“I would very much consider standing there at the next general election.”

And asked whether he would considering running as an independent and not the the Conservative Party, Parish said: “I shall offer my services to the [Conservative] Party ... whether the party will have me or not is another matter.

“Then I have the option of also standing as an independent…there’s a certain draw for me actually to have a shot as an independent.”

Parish was just one of a number of Tory MPs to lose the party whip over their conduct.

Andrew Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire, was suspended from the Conservative Party on Wednesday after he referred to the Holocaust in a debate about Covid vaccines.

The following day, Bridgen, who now sits as an independent MP in the Commons, apologised for causing offence and released a video denying he was racist.

There are currently 15 independent MPs sitting in parliament.

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