Politics

'Neil Parish has displayed not only a grotesque lack of judgment but also arrogance'


Neil Parish today announced he is resigning as an MP after admitting he watched pornography twice in Parliament after claiming he did so in a “moment of madness”

Mr Parish is being investigated over claims he watched porn in Commons
Mr Parish is being investigated over claims he watched porn in Commons

You know that joke, the old one, the really old one, about the king moaning about his name?

“See those bridges over there? I built those, do they call me Richard the Bridgebuilder? They do not. See that field? That’s where I killed the dragon. Do they call me Richard the Dragonslayer. They do not. (Pause)

“You have sex with one goat…”

Which is the issue now for the ­member for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish. Not that I’m suggesting, for a second, that there was any bestial ­element to the porn he was idly browsing during a Parliamentary session.

It’s just that from now on he’s forever to be known as that Porn MP or The Porn Guy or Porno Neil.






A cartoon showing Boris Johnson in the ‘House of Horrors’ Commons

Idiot

This is a difficult one. I mean, I guess I will leave the analysis of the misogyny to other more learned colleagues.

I think Mr Parish’s wife summed it up best of all: “He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.” Or Mr Parish himself, ­apologising to his wife: “I’m sorry you’ve married a f***ing idiot.”

And that’s it, isn’t it? So, so stupid. Idiot. I guess if you wanted to look at it properly, there are a couple of strands that are bit dicey.

We’ve all sat through horrific ­meetings that drag on longer than they should. There are lots of them, ­particularly in Parliament.

But, you know, in that situation you normally open your phone and flick through the news, have a game of Candy Crush or something. Maybe look at M&S’s spring collection.

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It takes a certain kind of mind, to be sitting in, say, a Liaison Committee session or something, and think – this is a bit dry. You know what would liven it up? Pornhub.

Maybe that’s the issue. That Mr Parish has displayed not only a grotesque lack of judgment but also a certain type of arrogance.

Again, who would choose a session in the Mother of Parliaments, in a room full of colleagues, that is televised, to look in on some dubious matter.

Yesterday he quit, despite a rather novel defence: “I was only looking at tractors.” That didn’t work. Worth a try I suppose.

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Advances

The really worrying thing here came in the aftermath, when other MPs ­started discussing misogyny and sharing some of their experiences.

Like Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary, who said she had been “pinned up against a wall” by a male MP who made sexual ­advances towards her.

That’s surely the more urgent issue to be investigated. The man behind it is said to have left politics but surely that violence and misogyny should have been reported and dealt with.

The more we learn about what’s going on in there, the less pleasant it is.

And disappointing. That’s the ­overriding feeling.

That politicians should be operating at a higher standard. Scratch that, any sort of standard.

God knows what they are getting up to these days.

It would be handy if some sort of investigation could reveal exactly who is doing what, and how many Porn MPs there actually are. It’s only fair.

Mrs Parish might have married a f**king idiot, but we didn’t. And why should we have to vote for them?





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