‘Porn MP’ Neil Parish’s wife stands by him and says there are ‘very few’ men who have not looked at porn – as she insists marriage will survive and he REFUSES to quit
- Neil Parish has been named as the MP accused by colleagues of watching porn in the House of Commons
- His wife of 40 years Susan says it’s ‘all very embarrassing’ and ‘people shouldn’t be looking at pornography’
- The MP for Tiverton and Honiton has had the party whip suspended after days of fevered speculation
- Mr Parish has referred himself to Parliament standards watchdog and will now be subject to an investigation
The wife of Tory MP Neil Parish, who admitted he was at the centre of Westminster’s latest sleaze probe said there are ‘very few’ men who have not looked at pornography.
Mr Parish, who is the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, is being investigated over allegations he watched pornographic material on his mobile handset during a parliamentary debate.
Susan Parish, his wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is ‘all very embarrassing’.
After hearing about the allegation, Mrs Parish said: ‘My breath was taken away, frankly,’ although she defended her husband. ‘No. He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.’
Neil Parish MP, pictured at home in Somerset today, who has been stripped of the Tory whip over allegations that he watched pornography on his phone during a House of Commons debate, told his wife, Sue, that ‘she married a f****** idiot
Susan Parish, pictured with her husband Neil Parish, said very few men can claim to have never watched pornography, although she admitted it should not be viewed in the House of Commons
Mr Parish, pictured, has said if Parliamentary investigations into his behavior find him guilty of misconduct, he will resign
She said: ‘People shouldn’t be looking at pornography. He would never just sit there with people looking. He would never just do that knowing [people were looking]. These ladies were quite right to be as cross as they were because I was cross, too.’
Following the allegations, Mr Parish had the Tory whip removed and is now sitting as an Independent in the House of Commons.
He said he has no intention of resigning, unless the current parliamentary probes into his actions find him guilty of misconduct.
Safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean said ‘appropriate measures will be put in place’ while the investigations continued.
However, he has faced calls to step down, with opposition parties seeking his resignation.
He said he may have opened the pornography accidentally, as he referred himself to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone for investigation.
But senior Tory Karen Bradley urged him to stay away from Parliament and Harriet Harman, the longest-standing female MP, called for his immediate resignation.
Ms Maclean, the minister responsible for safeguarding women, said ‘clearly what he’s done is unacceptable’ and that he should resign if found to have watched the material deliberately.
Asked on Times Radio if it was appropriate for him to carry on while under investigation, she said: ‘I genuinely think that’s a matter for him.’
But she added: ‘I want to be clear, he is not continuing his business as normal, he’s under investigation, and I’m confident that the appropriate measures will be put in place to safeguard any of his constituents, particularly women and girls.’
As the scandal broke yesterday, Mr Parish told his wife: ‘I’m sorry you married a f****** idiot.’
His said: ‘If you were mad with every man who looked at pornography, you would not have many wives in the world.’
Under-fire Tory MP Neil Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who has described the allegations against him as ‘very embarrassing’
Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated
Addressing reporters yesterday, Mr Parish said: ‘I have to apologise to my wife more than anybody for putting her through all of this.’
Adding that he understood the upset he had caused more widely, he nevertheless stressed that he would ‘carry on doing my duties as MP for Tiverton and Honiton’ with the ‘full support of my wonderful wife’.
Mrs Parish admitted the incident was ‘all very embarrassing’ but said it would be ‘a bit stupid’ to let it come between them. ‘I don’t understand [the attraction of] it. I’m a woman… it’s degrading. It’s demeaning. But on the other hand it takes two to tango. There must be women posing for all this,’ she told The Times.
Of whether she was aware of her husband having watched porn before, she said: ‘No. He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.
‘I’m fairly tough. You’ve got to carry on, haven’t you? Where that leaves [his career]… what’s going to happen, I’ve got no idea.’
A close friend who visited the couple yesterday said: ‘As you can imagine, the atmosphere in there was somewhat tense. But they are a very close couple, and after ten years in Parliament an incident like this is not going to derail their marriage.’
Yesterday’s developments followed days of speculation about the identity of the Tory seen viewing explicit content in the Commons.
Of why he had not come forward sooner – or quit – Mr Parish, who gave a TV interview earlier this week calling for the man in question to be ‘dealt with seriously’, said: ‘I wasn’t going to until such time as I had referred myself to the authorities. I will not remain if I am found guilty [by the Committee on Standards].’
In addition to referring himself to that panel, Mr Parish has also been referred to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme.
It follows the claim from two female MPs that they had seen a colleague watching porn in the Commons chamber. One reported having also seen him looking at indecent images during a committee hearing.
MP Neil Parish, pictured at his home yesterday, has had the Conservative whip suspended while he is being investigated for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons
Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris (left) has now suspended the whip from the MP pending an investiation. Backbencher Nickie Aiken (right) said the Tory MP responsible for watching pornography in the Houses of Parliament should quit
Neil Parish – who was today named as the MP accused of watching porn in the Commons – is a former Somerset farmer who has spend more than two decades as a politician in Westminster and Brussels.
Born in Bridgewater, a historic market town on the edge of the Somerset Levels, he became MP for Tiverton and Honiton, a picturesque constituency in the heart of south-west England, in 2010 after a decade as a Tory MEP. Before that he served as a local councillor.
The 65-year-old has been a member of the Environment and rural affairs committee since 2010 and was once branded a ‘Rottweiler’ by former farming minister David Miliband.
Mr Parish left school at 16 without qualifications and began working on the family farm, where he still lives. He is married to Susan, a teacher, and they have two children and two grandchildren
A biography on Politico described him as a ‘devoted family man’, with him and his wife considered something of a ‘double act’.
It continued: ‘Shorter than average and slightly rotund, Parish makes up in personality what he lacks in height. He is a whirlwind of activity, giving the impression he never stays still for very long.
‘One of his political opposites in the Parliament describes Parish as ”personable” – it is difficult to find anyone who dislikes him – but says he suspects him of being ”shallow”, accusing him of a tendency to jump on other people’s bandwagons for the sake of publicity. The same person adds with a sigh: ”He’s a pretty nice guy actually”.’
Mr Parish is known to indulge in stunts, and while an MEP drove a hybrid car from Brussels to
Alongside rural issues, he is also interested in animal welfare, and launched a select committee inquiry into the treatment of domestic pets, including cats, dogs and horses.
Mr Parish’s other interests include African politics, according to an online biography. During the 2000 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe, he acted as an election monitor and criticised the conduct of Robert Mugabe’s regime.
Following this, Robert Mugabe banned Neil from re-entering the country, a ban that remains in place to this day. He was recently among more than 280 MPs to be sanctioned by Vladimir Putin’s regime for comments he had made in Parliament in support of Ukraine. He described this as a ‘badge of honour’.
His most recent work in Parliament was launching an inquiry into marine mammals, which will look into their welfare in UK waters and worldwide.
Today he was suspended by the Conservatives pending an investigation. An investigation by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) was launched after the allegations surfaced during a meeting of Tory MPs on Tuesday.
Appearing on GB News earlier this week, Mr Parish himself said he backed Tory whips to conduct a ‘thorough investigation’.
He then added: ‘If you’ve got sort of 650 members of parliament in what is a very intense area, you are going to get people that step over the line…
‘I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture (of misogyny) here but I think it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously. That’s what the whips will do.’
Yesterday it emerged that Mr Parish – the chairman of the Commons environment, food and rural affairs committee, and a member of the powerful liaison committee – had spoken to Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris about the claims.
A spokesman for Mr Heaton-Harris confirmed that Mr Parish had been suspended by his party while the allegations are investigated.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister had said of the claims: ‘We need to get to understand the facts… but that kind of behaviour is clearly totally unacceptable.’
Before becoming an MP in 2010, Mr Parish had served as an MEP for south-west England for a decade. At the last election he amassed 61 per cent of the vote, sealing a majority of almost 25,000.
Educated at Brymore, an agricultural state boarding school in Somerset, he left at 16 to manage the family farm he still calls home. He and Sue have two children, Jonathan and Harriet, and two grandchildren.
Until yesterday, the most publicity the MP received outside Westminster was when he risked being shot by police protecting Jeremy Hunt after he joined the then foreign secretary’s motorcade without authorisation in 2019.
As well as calls for faster rural broadband, he has campaigned on issues such as flooding, air quality and animal welfare. He also has a keen interest in African politics – but was banned from Zimbabwe in 2008 for his criticism of Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship.
News of his standards investigation came as a female Cabinet minister revealed that she had once been ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a male MP.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan urged colleagues to ‘keep your hands in your pockets’ as she complained about sexism in Parliament, telling LBC Radio: ‘I’ve witnessed and been at the sharp end of misogyny from some colleagues many times over.
‘We might describe it as wandering hands, if you like, we might describe it as, you know, a number of years ago being pinned up against a wall by a male MP – who is now no longer in the House, I’m pleased to say – declaring that I must want him because he was a powerful man. These sorts of things, these power abuses, that a very small minority, thank goodness, of male colleagues show is completely unacceptable.’
She said most of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’, but added: ‘There are a few for whom too much drink, or indeed a sort of a view that somehow being elected makes them, you know, God’s gift to women, that they can suddenly please themselves. That is never OK, that kind of behaviour, disrespect for women.’
Her Cabinet colleague Ben Wallace said earlier in the week that ‘there’s no place for pornography in any workplace’.
Highlighting the need for change at Westminster, the Defence Secretary told Sky News: ‘This is a problem, I think, about the overall culture of the House of Commons. It is late sitting, long nights with bars, and that very often leads, and it has done for decades, to behavioural challenges.’
Tory MP Pauline Latham had said the then-unnamed man who had watched porn should resign, telling GB News: ‘They should go… their ministerial career is absolutely shot and their parliamentary career probably. It’s just not excusable in any way. It’s totally shocking.’
Shadow Commons Leader Thangam Debbonaire said: ‘The Conservatives knew for days about the disgusting behaviour of one of their MPs and tried to cover it up…
‘This is a government rotting from the head down. Britain deserves better.’
Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons
Mr Parish was met by journalists as he arrived back at his Somerset home following the revelation that he is the MP alleged to have watched porn in the Commons
Though the allegations are still be to investigated, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said Boris Johnson must order his MP to quit.
‘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.’
Tory MP Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said she had been ‘disappointed’ that the whip was not suspended immediately but was now ‘very relieved’.
She told ITV News: ‘I’ve been calling for the Chief Whip to remove the whip from when we first heard about this incident…
‘I’m pleased that action has been taken and I hope that the two women who complained are being supported through the system as well.’
It is understood a process has now been launched through Parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme (ICGS).
Mr Parish pictured with Mr Johnson before the latest controversy erupted
Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to Burnley yesterday) said it would be ‘unacceptable’ to watch porn in the Commons
Meanwhile, there have been complaints that Mr Heaton-Harris had kicked the scandal ‘into the long grass’ by referring it to the Parliamentary grievance process rather than taking action.
It appears the IGCS inquiry has now been triggered with at least one of the witnesses making a complaint.
But a second investigation could be launched after Mr Parish’s commitment to refer himself to the Standards Committee.
It is unclear what potential breach of the MPs’ code of conduct he would report himself for.
But it is thought one option for Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone could be whether Mr Parish caused ‘significant damage to the reputation and integrity’ of the Commons.
MPs have reacted with revulsion to the claims that a Tory had been caught by two of his female colleagues watching porn in the House of Commons.
On a visit to Burnley on Thursday, the PM told broadcasters: ‘I think it’s obviously unacceptable for anybody to be doing that kind of thing in the workplace.
‘It would be the same for any kind of job up and down the country, let’s be absolutely clear about that.
‘What needs to happen now is that the proper procedures need to be gone through, the independent complaints and grievances procedure needs to be activated and we need to get to understand the facts but, yeah, that kind of behaviour is clearly totally unacceptable.’
Attorney General Suella Braverman said if the MP was found to have been watching adult material it should result in them ‘no longer holding their privileged position as a Member of Parliament’.
She said there was a ‘very small minority of men – and it is men – who fall short and there are some bad apples who are out of order – who behave like animals, and are bringing Parliament into disrepute to be honest’.
Tory MP Nickie Aiken said earlier that the alleged porn-watching MP ‘has to resign’ from the Commons as she warned that he was causing ‘pain, suffering and embarrassment’ to both the party and Parliament.
He should ‘take a very very long, hard look’ at himself and ask ‘should I still be here?’, she told Times Radio.
Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan reveals she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by male MP as she reads riot act to sleazy politicians
A Cabinet minister yesterday revealed she was once ‘pinned up against the wall’ by a male MP.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’.
But she said a few behaved badly when they had ‘too much drink’, insisting people should act ‘as if their daughter was in the room’.
Ms Trevelyan spoke about one extraordinary incident when she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a man who is now no longer an MP.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’
Ms Trevelyan told Sky News of male MPs: ‘There are a few for whom too much drink, or indeed a sort of, a view that somehow being elected makes them you know, God’s gift to women, that they can suddenly please themselves, that is never OK, that kind of behaviour, disrespect for women.’
She added: ‘Fundamentally, if you’re a bloke, keep your hands in your pockets and behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room.’
Ms Trevelyan told LBC Radio: ‘I’ve witnessed and been at the sharp end of misogyny from some colleagues many times over’.
‘We might describe it as wandering hands, if you like, we might describe it as, you know, a number of years ago being pinned up against a wall by a male MP who is now no longer in the House, I’m pleased to say, declaring that I must want him because he was a powerful man’.
‘These sorts of things, these power abuses that a very small minority, thank goodness, of male colleagues show is completely unacceptable.’
She advised women subjected to that kind of behaviour to ‘make public humiliation one of your tools’.
However, while Ms Trevelyan described watching porn in the Commons chamber as ‘completely unacceptable’, she declined to say whether the MP involved should be sacked.
Ex-minister calls for law on public porn after seeing Tube traveller viewing material at 8am
A former minister has called for legislation to tackle public porn watching.
Lord Bethell revealed he saw a man ‘getting off’ on adult material on the Tube at 8am.
He urged Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to use the upcoming Online Safety Bill to ‘address’ the problem.
‘I saw a man getting off on porn on the tube. At 800am. School kids nearby. Addiction. No impulse control. V sad,’ Lord Bethell tweeted.
‘@NadineDorries. Online Safety Bill needs to address this.’
Source: Read Full Article