Neil Parish: who is Conservative MP for Tiverton who has admitted to watching porn in the House of Commons?

The MP said he was looking at tractors when he ‘got into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit’

Tory Neil Parish has formally resigned as an MP after admitting to twice watching pornography in Parliament, saying he first accidentally viewed it after looking at tractors online before then acting deliberately.

The 65-year-old select committee chair, who is a farmer by trade, said the second time was while sitting waiting to vote on the side of the Commons chamber in a “moment of madness”.

Initally, he had vowed to continue as the MP for Tiverton and Honiton after it was revealed he was the politician seen watching porn by two Conservative colleagues, but bowed to pressure to resign on Saturday, with the process now formally underway.

The identity of the Tory MP who allegedly watched porn inside the House of Commons has been revealed. (Credit: PA)

Who is Neil Parish?

Neil Parish, 65, has been the Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton since 2010.

During his time as an MP, he served on the envrionment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. He also served as Chairman of the 1922 Committee in 2010.

Prior to standing as an MP in the Devon constiuency, Mr Parish served as a Member of the European Parliament for South West England from 1999 until 2009.

What has Parish admitted to?

Mr Parish, in an interview with BBC South West, said that he recognised the “furore” and “damage” he was causing his family and his constituency in Devon before deciding “it just wasn’t worth carrying on”.

“The situation was, funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at, so I did get into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done,” he said.

“My crime, my most biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.

“That was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber.”

He said it was a “moment of madness”, which he accepted was “totally wrong”, as he insisted he was “not making sure people could see it” and was trying to be discreet.

“I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it, intimidating women, I mean I have 12 years in Parliament and probably got one of the best reputations ever – or did have.”

When pressed on why he chose to view the material in the Commons, Mr Parish said: “I don’t know, I think I must’ve taken complete leave of my senses and my sensibilities and my sense of decency, everything.”

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton (centre) in 2016 (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

The claims of an MP watching porn while in parliament were met with digust from colleagues.

Labour has called Mr Parish’s alleged behavious “disgusting”, with shadow leader of the House Thangam Debbonaire saying: “The Conservatives knew for days about the disgusting behaviour of one of their MPs and tried to cover it up.

“From the Owen Paterson scandal to their failure to act against their paedophile MP Imran Ahmad Khan, this is a Government rotting from the head down. Britain deserves better.”

The Liberal Democrats have called on Boris Johnson to demand Mr Parish’s resignation after his identity was revealed.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “If Boris Johnson had any shred of decency left, he would tell Neil Parish to resign immediately.

“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 claims came as questions were raised about the culture of sexism and misogyny within Westminster, after the Mail on Sunday ran a story in which an unamed Tory source compared deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct for crossing her legs in the House of Commons.

At the same meeting where Mr Parish’s porn allegeation was raised, it was reported that around 56 MPs, including three Cabinet ministers, had been referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievences Scheme (ICGS) for sexual misconduct.

How did the story unfold?

It was reported that during a regular meeting of Tory MPs on 26 April, an incident was raised in which a male minister was accused of watching a pornographic video on his mobile phone while sitting in the House of Commons.

The story was corroborated by at least two colleagues who are said to have witnessed the incident inside the chamber.

The identity of the MP in question was initally not released to the public, however the name was passed to the Conservative chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris who launched an investigation.

Mr Parish was eventually named after it was confirmed that he had reported himself in relation to the accusations.

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

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

While he initally intended to continuye representing his consituency as an independent, Mr Parish announced his intention to resign on Saturday 30 April, with the formal resignation announced by the Treasury department on Wednesday 4 May.