Neil Parish quits as MP after watching porn in the Commons while 'looking for tractors'

4 May 2022, 13:26 | Updated: 4 May 2022, 16:08

Neil Parish said he was meaning to look at tractors on his phone in the House of Commons but he accidentally watched porn
Neil Parish said he was meaning to look at tractors on his phone in the House of Commons but he accidentally watched porn. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Neil Parish has formally resigned as MP for Tiverton and Honiton after admitting watching porn in the Commons in a "moment of madness".

In a statement, the Treasury announced that "the Chancellor of the Exchequer has this day appointed Neil Quentin Gordon Parish to be Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead" - the formal mechanism allowing him to resign.

On Saturday Mr Parish admitted he watched it twice in the House of Commons, saying it was a "moment of madness" and he was "not proud of what I was doing".

The first time happened accidentally after watching looking at tractors on his phone, he claimed, but the second time he intended to view it.

"The situation was that - funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at," he told the BBC.

"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.

"That was deliberate... that was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber."

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The emotional MP said he would quit after seeing the scandal's impact on his family, constituency and local Tory association, and added: "What I did was absolutely totally wrong."

He denied watching the porn in a way that he hoped others would see it, and went on: "I make a full apology. A total full apology. It was not my intention to intimidate."

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."

The Treasury has accepted Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish's resignation
The Treasury has accepted Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish's resignation. Picture: Alamy

Local Tory officers were said to be saddened by the affair.

His wife, Sue, said she first heard about the claims after a journalist called her for a comment.

"I didn't know who was more embarrassed, actually, me or him! Poor chap," she said.

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Safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean told LBC on Saturday Mr Parish should "of course" resign.

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour's Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said before Mr Parish's resignation: "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."