Porn MP ‘has to go over Commons shame,’ say growing number of MPs

·5-min read
Porn MP ‘has to go over Commons shame,’ say growing number of MPs

The Tory MP accused of watching pornography in the House of Commons chamber should resign immediately, say a growing number of MPs.

An independent investigation could be launched into allegations the unnamed man was seen looking at lewd material on his phone by two female colleagues.

The claims were made at a meeting on Tuesday night where women Tory MPs shared accounts of alleged sexism and sexual harassment in Westminster.

Responding to the porn claims, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster Nickie Aiken told the Standard: “If this is true, and I have no doubt having heard the two MPs speak that something untoward happened… He should really do the decent thing and resign immediately as an MP.

“In all other areas of employment, an employee who was found to be doing something similar would be sacked.”

Ms Aiken said the MP, who was alleged to be watching porn on his phone while sitting alongside a female minister, could wait for an investigation to be launched, but added that “if he knows in his heart that he is guilty he should go immediately.”

She was backed by Simon Hoare MP, Conservative chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland Committee, who tweeted: “I agree with my good friend @twocitiesnickie (Ms Aiken) who, as always, calls this right.”

It has been reported the two female Conservative MPs making the allegations named the individual in a private meeting with the party chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris.

But he has now paused any investigation by the party until Parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme has had the opportunity to look into the allegations.

A spokeswoman for Mr Heaton-Harris said: “Following allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the House of Commons, the Chief Whip has asked that this matter be referred to the ICGS.

“Upon the conclusion of any ICGS investigation, the chief whip will take appropriate action.”

A spokeswoman for grievance scheme said that it would not confirm whether it had been asked by the two MPs to look into the porn claims.

But she made clear that only those individuals making the complaint could trigger an investigation, meaning the chief whip or any other third party would not be able to file a formal complaint on their behalf.

The chair of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee Caroline Nokes told the Standard: “I’m disappointed the chief whip has not immediately removed the whip. There is no suggestion this was accidental.

“The people making the claims are very clear they saw someone watching porn in the chamber. If the individual had any shred of decency they should resign.”

Attorney General Suella Braverman has said a Tory MP accused of watching pornography in the Commons chamber could be expelled from Parliament if the claims are found to be correct.

Ms Braverman told Sky News: “I think this is very serious potentially. I think it should potentially carry one of the most serious sanctions. I think that watching porn in the chamber is absolutely outrageous.

“There are many possible sanctions and they go up to suspension or even expulsion from the House of Commons. The most serious sanction could potentially apply in this case.”

Conservative MP Harriett Baldwin called for the MP to come forward. She told the Standard: “It is absolutely scandalous. I don’t know who this individual is but they certainly should not be sitting on the bench.

“It would be very wise for this person to come forward and identify themselves so a full independent investigation can take place.

“Otherwise we may never know who this person is and a finger of suspicion will fall on all men sitting in the Commons benches.”

Liberal Democrat MP and equalities spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said the MP should resign if the allegations prove to be true. She added: “In any other place of work this would count as gross misconduct and the employee would be swiftly dismissed.

“The Conservatives should do the same and withdraw the whip from this MP, instead of kicking this into the long grass. If the Tory party fails to act, the MP responsible should do the decent thing and resign.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace blamed a “toxic mix” of late nights and drinking culture in Westminster leading to “behavioural challenges”.

He told the BBC: “The problem in the House of Commons is ultimately the overall culture of long hours, bars and people sometimes under pressure and... that can create a toxic mix that leads to all sorts of things.”

He added that withdrawing the whip from the MP “is a certain possibility”.

Baroness Nicky Morgan, a former minister for women and equalities, said the allegations were “genuinely jaw dropping”. She added that Parliament needed to be professionalised. “It’s not about alcohol,” she told Times Radio.

“Alcohol doesn’t help and it blurs the lines as whether Parliament is a place for work or socialising and entertaining. [But] you can’t use that as an excuse.”

It comes amid a renewed debate about sexism after a Mail on Sunday story claimed deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner crosses her legs to distract Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions. The story was criticised as misogynistic by MPs on both sides of the House.

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