Booze and stress could be reason Tory watched porn in Commons, minister suggests

28 April 2022, 11:02

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has suggested the culture in Westminster could have contributed to a Tory MP allegedly watching pornography in the Commons.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has suggested the culture in Westminster could have contributed to a Tory MP allegedly watching pornography in the Commons. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Sophie Barnett

The "long hours and alcohol" and the culture in Westminster may have contributed to a Tory MP allegedly watching porn in the House of Commons, a minister has suggested.

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said there is "no place for pornography in any workplace" following claims a male Tory frontbencher was caught watching the adult videos next to a female minister in the House of Commons.

He told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast he would support the whip being removed from the Tory MP, if the "unacceptable" claims are found to be true.

He also appeared to suggest the inexcusable behaviour was down to the culture of the Commons, such as the late nights and drinking.

“We all know what happens when you mix long hours, drink and pressure environments," he said.

"I think it's really important that we think about ways to change the culture in the House of Commons."

Read more: Male Tory frontbencher 'caught watching porn in Commons' next to female minister

He added to Sky News that there is a "range of allegations that go right across the House, go right across the parties".

"This is a problem, I think, about the overall culture of the House of Commons," he said.

"It is late sitting, long nights with bars, and that very often leads, and it has done for decades, to behavioural challenges and problems…"

Asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast if the Tory frontbencher should lose the whip, Mr Wallace said: "Withdrawing the whip is a certain possibility.

"It would be something I would support, he loses the whip, if that is the case. But let's see how the facts develop in the investigation."

The bombshell claims were made by a female Tory at a meeting of her fellow MPs on Tuesday evening, with former PM Theresa May watching on "with a face like thunder".

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Conservative chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris has launched an investigation into the reports.

Mr Wallace said he would support the MP losing the whip if the claims are true.

He said he could even face a recall petition in his constituency or be suspended from Parliament "if the Commons authorities feel it is egregious enough".

"It's unacceptable," Mr Wallace said.

"Partly because they are paid to do a job of being an MP and represent their constituents, but partly because it caused offence to people sitting next to them."

It comes amid a sexism row in Parliament, after Labour's deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner was accused of trying to distract Boris Johnson in the Commons by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

The Mail on Sunday report sparked outrage across the political spectrum, with Ms Rayner slamming the "lies" being briefed about her.

The Prime Minister condemned the sexism and pledged to "unleash the terrors of the earth" on the MP who made the claim.