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Tory Neil Parish to resign as MP over Commons porn allegations


The Conservative politician accused of watching porn on his phone in the House of Commons has announced he will step down as an MP after facing calls to resign.

Neil Parish, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, had already had the Tory whip removed and suggested he had opened the porn “in error”. He previously said he would only resign if found guilty by an inquiry into his actions.

In an emotional interview with BBC News South West, he said a first incident was accidental as he had been looking at tractors but that a second time was deliberate.

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

“But my crime – biggest crime – is that on another occasion I went in a second time.”

Parish admitted on that occasion it was on purpose and that he watched the porn while sitting and waiting to vote in the Commons chamber. He said: “What I did was absolutely wrong.”

He added that he first thought he would explain to the standards committee what had happened, but could see the “furore and the damage I was causing my family and my constituency” and decided to resign.

Parish said it was “a moment of madness”, adding: “I was wrong, I was stupid, I lost sense of mind.

“I make a full apology. A total full apology. It was not my intention to intimidate.”

He denied he viewed the porn on his phone in the hope someone else would be able to see what he was watching.

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A spokesperson for Tiverton and Honiton Conservatives said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Neil Parish for his service to our communities over the past 12 years. We support his decision to step down as our member of parliament.”

Parish, the chair of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, had already had the whip suspended after becoming the fourth MP from his party since the last election to face claims of impropriety.

He told the Daily Telegraph it felt “almost as if a weight is lifted off me” when the allegations became public. His wife said in the same interview that she only found out about the incident when a reporter called her asking for a quote.



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