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Neil Parish says a ‘weight is lifted off me’ after being named as MP at centre of porn scandal – UK politics live


Parish says ‘weight is lifted’ after being named as MP who watched porn in Commons

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Neil Parish has said that now the allegations that he watched pornography in the Commons chamber are out in the open, it feels “almost as if a weight is lifted off me”.

When asked what happened, Parish said that he had viewed the porn “by accident”, although he did not elaborate further on how this happened.

He added: “I think it’s all going to have to go through the inquiry, and then I will give them all the evidence I have, and it’ll be for them to make the decision. And then I will make my mind up as to what I do, whether I remain in parliament or whether I leave.”

When asked if he had a comment for his constituents, Parish said: I will continue working for them. I apologise for the situation – the whip is withdrawn – but I am still their MP. And at the moment I’m still the chair of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, and I take that job very seriously. And I will carry it on for as long as I have it.”

You can read the full interview with the Telegraph here

The safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean has held her position that Parish should be removed from the party if he is found guilty of the allegations.

Speaking to Sky News on Saturday, MacLean said: “Clearly if this is substantiated and those allegations turn out to be true, of course I stand by what I said, but at the same time there is now an investigation so it wouldn’t be helpful for me to speculate on the specific outcomes.

“This type of behaviour has no place in any workplace let alone parliament, but I think everybody would accept that when there’s an allegation that’s made … it isn’t really for us, as colleagues, to sit on judgment in another colleague, it is for that process to take place.”

MacLean added that she has “absolutely every confidence in the chief whip”.

“He’s acting incredibly quickly, I don’t see why the investigation can’t be concluded very quickly and I’m certain that appropriate action will then follow from that,” she said.

Senior Conservative MP Caroline Nokes has accused the party of “unnecessary dither and delay” in taking action against Neil Parish, in light of allegations that he watched pornography in the House of Commons.

Nokes, who chairs the women and equalities committee, also said it would be “difficult” for Parish to spend the required time in parliament as a select committee chair while under investigation.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “I felt by leaving it until Friday before we knew that action had been taken by the whips that it felt like unnecessary dither and delay.”

She continued that although she was not calling for for Parish to stand down immediately from his role, it was “right those investigations are carried out before any further action is taken”.

Whether Parish should continue as the chair of the environment select committee, Nokes added that was a “matter for Neil to discuss with the party whips and to take a position on, but I think whilst he’s under investigation it’s going to make it very difficult for him to be in the Commons as much as he needs to be”.

Parish, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, had the whip suspended after becoming the fourth MP from his party since the last election to face claims of impropriety.

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has apologised to headteachers for his comments suggesting teachers and nurses enjoyed a “quiet drink” in staff rooms during lockdown.

PA Media reports:

Writing to the NAHT school leaders’ union, he said it was not his intention to “demoralise” anyone and that he “was neither judging nor chastising the minority of nurses or teachers who chose to unwind with a few work colleagues after a long shift”.

He said he had heard of a “number of cases” where teachers had enjoyed a drink in school after work but that “the number of after-work drinks remain a small minority”.

He added: “My error in one part of the programme – which was repeated on TV – was to give the impression this was general practice by nurses and teachers: this was never the case.”

Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire
Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock

Emily Dugan has spoken to female MPs regarding a climate of misogyny they feel within Westminster.

For example, Lynne Featherstone, who served as equalities minister in the coalition government and now sits in the Lords, recalled an incident on the Commons terrace when she was still an MP.

A Labour MP in his 60s “kept saying to his researchers, ‘come and sit on my knee’ and different ones were taking a turn sitting on his knee and giggling and stuff”, she said. “It was just horrible to watch. He was pulling them on to his knee and they were giggling because they were young and impressionable”.

You can read more of these accounts from Alex Davies-Jones, Jess Phillips, and Anna Soubry here:

Parish says ‘weight is lifted’ after being named as MP who watched porn in Commons

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Neil Parish has said that now the allegations that he watched pornography in the Commons chamber are out in the open, it feels “almost as if a weight is lifted off me”.

When asked what happened, Parish said that he had viewed the porn “by accident”, although he did not elaborate further on how this happened.

He added: “I think it’s all going to have to go through the inquiry, and then I will give them all the evidence I have, and it’ll be for them to make the decision. And then I will make my mind up as to what I do, whether I remain in parliament or whether I leave.”

When asked if he had a comment for his constituents, Parish said: I will continue working for them. I apologise for the situation – the whip is withdrawn – but I am still their MP. And at the moment I’m still the chair of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, and I take that job very seriously. And I will carry it on for as long as I have it.”

You can read the full interview with the Telegraph here

Tory MP facing calls to resign over porn allegations

Good morning.

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP accused of watching pornography in the House of Commons, is facing calls to resign now rather than waiting for the results of the inquiry into the allegations.

Parish, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, had the whip suspended after becoming the fourth MP from his party since the last election to face claims of impropriety.

In a statement, the 65-year-old wrote on his website: “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.”

However, there were suggestions that a Tory minister also saw him watching porn on a second occasion, in a committee meeting.

Parish said he would consider his position as an MP after the result of the investigation, telling reporters: “I will not remain if I am found guilty.”

Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, Thangam Debbonaire, says Parish should “do the decent thing and resign”.

“He has referred himself to the standards committee, where they will have, among various other options, the option to expel,” she told reporters.

“But I think really he should do the decent thing and resign.”

We’ll bring you more updates on this story throughout the day.



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