Tory MP Neil Parish meant to look at 'Dominator' farm machinery not porn, friends claim

1 May 2022, 19:40 | Updated: 2 May 2022, 08:30

Friends have claimed Neil Parish wanted to look at Dominator combine harvesters
Friends have claimed Neil Parish wanted to look at Dominator combine harvesters. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Neil Parish was trying to look at a type of farm machinery called a 'Dominator' when he claimed to accidentally end up watching porn in the House of Commons, his friends have said.

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Colin Slade, a councillor in Devon and a friend of Mr Parish, said he had heard from other friends that the MP was looking for "a brand of tractor named Dominator".

He said he had ended up instead on a website with "a very similar name", adding: "You can see easily where that would go."

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The Claas Dominator is a type of combine harvester.

Despite the fact Mr Parish said he was trying to look at pictures of tractors when he ended up on the website, Mr Slade - a deputy chairman of the Tiverton and Honiton Conservative Association - said the explanation made sense.

"I believe it to be true," he said.

Mr Parish, who has been MP for Tiverton and Honiton since 2010, caused alarm to two colleagues who witnessed him watching pornography on his mobile phone - actions that ultimately cost the long-standing parliamentarian his political career.

His explanation that a search for tractors led to the first supposedly accidental viewing has prompted puzzlement about how he went from farm machinery to adult material.

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The 65-year-old had fought to stay on as MP after it emerged he was the subject of the complaint.

But on Saturday he said he recognised the "furore" he caused and said he would resign.

In an interview with BBC South West, he said: "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.

"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."

The scandal added to debate about the presence of a misogynistic culture in Government.

It came after an article in the Mail on Sunday accused Angela Rayner of trying to distract Boris Johnson in the House of Commons by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

The paper included a quote from one MP saying Ms Rayner "knows she can't compete with Boris's Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks".

Ms Rayner previously hit out at the "sexism and classism" she says were behind the newspaper publishing the story.