'It has never happened to me': Nicola Sturgeon on 'accidental' porn viewing

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said “most people” might think it “wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world to accidentally watch porn on your phone”, following the resignation of Conservative MP Neil Parish.

She insisted it was “for others to judge”, but stressed it had “never happened” to her, as she spoke exclusively to Scotland on Sunday on the election campaign trail in Fife.

Her comment came as news broke that Parish, 65, had resigned after being reported for viewing X-rated videos in the House of Commons by female colleagues.

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He said he had “accidentally” opened the material while looking at tractors – and then deliberately looked at it again during a vote in the Chamber.

But the Scottish leader, who was yesterday campaigning in Burntisland ahead of Thursday’s elections, was sceptical.

“Do I believe it? No, but I’m not in a position to judge – I’m not in possession of all the facts,” she said.

On the wider issue of misogyny, Sturgeon saidit was a “societal problem” and the time had come to say “enough is enough”.She said: “The culture of sexism that women experience every single day is not just about the House of Commons, it’s not even just about politics.

“It’s a societal problem and we really are at a point where we have to change it.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Dunfermline. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

She added: “Not all men are misogynists, but women do experience misogyny, and misogyny is by and large about male behaviour, so men have to change.

“This is a moment when they need to think about this very carefully and take it seriously.”

She said she believed Parish’s resignation was the right thing to do, adding: “There could not be any other outcome.”

When asked whether SNP MPs Patrick Grady and Patricia Gibson, who are being investigated over complaints of sexual harassment, should also resign, the First Minister said it would be inappropriate for her to comment until the official investigation is completed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon makes a cocktail in Fabric as she met with activists and local candidates during local election campaigning on April 30, in Dunfermline. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell-Pool/Getty Images

“It would not be fair or right for me to pre-empt that based on something I haven’t seen,” she said. “I think all concerns or complaints about inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour, sexual behaviour, have to be taken very seriously and the proper processes undertaken.”

Her stance was echoed by Edinburgh Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine. following a raft of incidents in Westminster.Earlier last week Labour MP Angela Rayner hit out at “disgusting” and “sexist” claims from Conservative MPs reported in the Daily Mail that she crossed and uncrossed her legs during Prime Minister’s Questions to “distract” Boris Johnson.

Ms Jardine said while some male MPs behave impeccably, others do not even realise their actions or comments are sexist.

“It’s not just Westminster, I think politics generally has a problem,” she said.

“You get men who are not quite up to speed on how women should be treated in modern society,” she said.

"That can be so frustrating. Often they are not aware of it themselves.

“It’s one reason why we need more women in politics, and we’re never going to encourage women into politics if they’re going to see this kind of misogyny and think it’s everywhere they go.”

Ms Jardine said she had thought there had been progress on sexism in Westminster since she was elected in 2017, but was now re-examining this belief.

She was “appalled and astonished” to read reports of an MP allegedly watching pornography in the Chamber, at first believing it was a joke.

“We know we have a lot of problems with behaviour in parliament, but that is worse than anything I’ve heard,” she said.

"The lack of respect for the people around him, the lack of respect for what he was there to do in the Chamber of Parliament.“For me it just shows a worrying attitude.”

Fellow MP Anum Qaisar, who represents Airdrie and Shotts for the SNP, says women in the political sphere often warn each other about potentially toxic behaviour.

"You can get recommendations about who not to spend time with,” she said. “It’s a real open secret.”

She believes parliament has a culture that enables men – such as late-night votes, with drinking in between.

“There are excuses made for men,” she said.

“I know it’s a high-pressured job, but it’s also a position of power and a position of responsibility towards your constituents.

“When these stories come out – and they do – it does a disservice to the hard work that parliamentarians do.”

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