Neil Parish: MP resigns as he admits watching porn in the Commons

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An MP has said he will resign after admitting to watching pornography in the House of Commons.

Neil Parish said he watched adult material twice in parliament, claiming the first time was accidental after looking at tractors online but that the second was "a moment of madness".

The 65-year-old farmer 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.

'It was tractors that I was looking at': Tory MP says he watched porn accidentally - Politics latest

The scandal comes amid accusations of misogyny and sexual misconduct at Westminster.

A spokesperson for Tiverton and Honiton Conservatives said: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank Neil Parish for his service to our communities over the past 12 years.

"We support his decision to step down as our member of parliament."

Friends of Mr Parish were said to be unhappy at the way he kept quiet and allowed speculation to form about party colleagues, according to Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates.

The former MEP had referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, days after two female Tory MPs said they witnessed him watching pornography on his mobile phone on two separate occasions.

The departure of Mr Parish, who also chaired the commons environment, food and rural affairs select committee, will trigger a by-election in what has been a safe Conservative seat.

Mr Parish, who had represented the Devon constituency since 2010, was returned in 2019 with a majority of 24,239, securing 60% of the vote.

But it will be a key target for the Liberal Democrats looking to pull off another upset like that in North Shropshire in the aftermath of the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal.

In an interview with the BBC, a tearful Mr Parish said: "I thought I could explain to the standards committee what happened and it would be worth explaining what happened…but in the end I could see that the furore and the damage I was causing my family and my constituency and association, just wasn't worth carrying on."

He added: "The situation was that, I, funnily enough, it was tractors that I was looking at, and so I did get into another website sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn't have done.

"But my crime, my most biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.

"That was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber."

Asked why he had done so, Mr Parish said it was "a moment of madness, and also, totally wrong".

Mr Parish said he wanted to put on record "for all my rights and wrongs, I was not proud of what I was doing and the one thing I wasn't doing, which I will take to my grave as being true, is I was not actually making sure people could see it".

"In fact I was trying to do quite the opposite," he insisted.

He said: "I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it, intimidating women, I mean I have 12 years in parliament and probably got one of the best reputations ever - or did have."

When pressed on why he chose to view the material in the Commons, he said: "I don't know, I think I must've taken complete leave of my senses and my sensibilities and my sense of decency, everything."

Mr Parish said he was "not defending what I did for one moment" arguing he thought the best thing he could do was to "tell the truth".

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But mocking the MP's explanation on Twitter, Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "He was looking for tractors but ended up with porn actors?

"Neil Parish must think you were all born yesterday. Boris Johnson's Conservatives are a national embarrassment."

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