Neil Parish named as MP who allegedly watched porn in Commons as investigation launched

THE TORY MP accused of watching porn in Parliament has been named as Tiverton and Honiton representative Neil Parish.

Neil Parish named as Tory MP caught watching porn

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The Conservative party has suspended the whip from the parliamentarian pending an investigation into claims he viewed explicit images on the green benches of the House of Commons. The veteran MP referred himself to parliament’s standards watchdog after a meeting with Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris, who is in charge of parliamentary discipline, over claims made by two female colleagues.

Allegations first emerged at a meeting of Conservatives on Tuesday night when a number of claims were made by female MPs about sexism and harassment.

One accused Mr Parish of watching porn in the Commons chamber, while another said corroborated the account adding they had separately seen him accessing the material in a select committee meeting.

Mr Heaton-Harris was said to have listened in horror as the accounts were relayed to him.

A spokesperson for the Chief Whip said: “Having spoken to the Chief Whip this afternoon, Neil Parish MP is reporting himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

READ MORE: ‘He should go’ Tory MP caught ‘watching porn’ in Commons chamber

Neil Parish has been suspended while an investigation is launched

Neil Parish has been suspended while an investigation is launched (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)

“Mr Parish has been suspended from the Conservative Whip pending the outcome of that investigation.”

Mr Parish has been an MP since 2010 and is the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

The married 65-year-old’s identity was revealed after more than 48 hours of widespread speculation over who the allegations referred to.

There had been growing demands for Tory backbenchers for the whips to take action and suspend the MP while an investigation took place.

First the Tories looked to refer the matter to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), 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.

READ MORE: Top Tory has ‘minder’ to stop drunken incidents

He was accused of watching explicit footage in the Commons chamber

He was accused of watching explicit footage in the Commons chamber (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)

Boris Johnson said watching porn at work was 'unacceptable'

Boris Johnson said watching porn at work was ‘unacceptable’ (Image: SKY)

But the party then named Mr Parish after he agreed to refer himself to a second committee which considers whether parliamentarians have broken the MPs’ code of conduct.

After the allegations were first reported on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said watching pornography at work was “totally unacceptable” and “‘it would be the same for any kind of job up and down the country”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said there was a need for a look at the “overall culture of the House of Commons” yesterday, while Attorney General Suella Braverman criticised “bad apples who are out of order, who behave like animals and are bringing Parliament into disrepute”.

Bizarrely, Mr Parish commented to the allegations an MP had watched porn in the Commons himself earlier in the week when appearing on GB News.

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Neil Parish comments on pornography probe prior to suspension

“You are going to get people that step over the line,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture here but I do think it had to be dealt with and dealt with seriously.”

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire accused the Government of “rotting from the head down”.

The Labour frontbencher said: “The Conservatives knew for days about the disgusting behaviour of one of their MPs and tried to cover it up.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper called for the Prime Minister to order Mr Parish to resign.

“If Boris Johnson had any shred of decency left, he would tell Neil Parish to resign immediately,” she said.

“In any other workplace this would count as gross misconduct and the person responsible would lose their job. Parliament should be no different.

“We don’t need to insult the women MPs who witnessed this with a lengthy investigation. All his bosses need to do is ask for his devices and look at his viewing history, this isn’t rocket science.”

The porn-watching claims come after it was claimed at the weekend that there are currently 56 MPs out of 650 who are facing accusations of sexual misconduct.

Issuing a statement following the allegations, Mr Parish wrote: “Following recent allegations regarding an MP’s use of their mobile phone in Parliament, I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in the House of Commons.

“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.

“I will not be making further comments at this stage.”

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