Neil Parish Suggests He Opened Porn Video Accidentally In The 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)

Neil Parish has suggested he may have opened a pornographic video accidentally in the Commons chamber, as he rejected calls to stand down immediately as an MP while being investigated.

The select committee chairman said he would be continuing his “duties” as an MP for Tiverton and Honiton, in Devon, while “cooperating fully” with investigators after he had the Tory whip suspended on Friday.

Asked by broadcasters if he opened something in error in the Commons, he said: “I did, but let the inquiry look at that.”

Parish, a 65-year-old farmer, said he would only consider his position after the conclusion of an inquiry, having earlier been revealed to be the subject of the allegations, ending days of speculation after the claims surfaced during a meeting of Tory MPs on Tuesday.

He told reporters: “I will not remain if I am found guilty.”

Parish said he told his wife on Friday afternoon, adding: “Of course it’s embarrassing and it’s embarrassing for my wife and family, so that’s my main concern at the moment.”

His wife Sue Parish said “it was all very embarrassing” as she told the Times she was not aware of her husband having done similar activities before.

“No. He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid,” she said.

Parish, a 65-year-old farmer, said he had referred himself to parliamentary commissioner for standards Kathryn Stone over “an MP’s use of their mobile phone in parliament”.

But he vowed to continue serving his constituents and remain chairman of the rural affairs Committee despite calls to resign or at least stop attending the Commons while under investigation.

“I will be cooperating fully with any investigation, and whilst it is ongoing I will continue to perform my duties as MP for Tiverton and Honiton,” he wrote on his website.

Conservative chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris suspended Parish, who has represented his constituency since 2010, from the parliamentary Conservative Party after they talked on Friday afternoon.

“Mr Parish has been suspended from the Conservative whip pending the outcome of that investigation,” a spokesperson for Mr Heaton-Harris said.

First the Tories looked to refer the matter to the independent complaints and grievance scheme, which looks into claims of bullying and sexual harassment.

It is understood that process has now started after at least one witness made a referral.

But a second investigation could be launched after Parish’s commitment to refer himself to Stone.

It was unclear what potential breach of the MPs’ code of conduct he would report himself for.

But it is thought one line of inquiry could be whether Parish caused “significant damage to the reputation and integrity” of 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 earlier this week.

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.”

The pornography claims followed reports that 56 MPs, including three Cabinet ministers, are facing allegations of sexual misconduct that have been referred to the ICGS.

They also follow outrage over The Mail On Sunday publishing “sexist” and disputed claims from unnamed Tory MPs that deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tried to distract Boris Johnson with her legs during prime minister’s Questions.

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

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