Neil Parish: Tory MP named amid suspension over alleged Commons porn incident

Neil Parish has said he “will continue to perform my duties” as an MP while under investigation for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons chamber.

The Tiverton and Honiton MP had the Tory whip withdrawn on Friday pending the result of the investigation after a conversation with the party’s Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris.

The confirmation of the man at the centre of the allegations ends days of speculation over his identity since the allegations surfaced during a meeting of Tory MPs on Tuesday.

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Neil Parish MP

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Mr Parish, the 65-year-old farmer who chairs the Commons environment, food and rural affairs committee, said in a statement: “Following recent allegations regarding an MP’s use of their mobile phone in Parliament, I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in the House of Commons.

“I will be co-operating fully with any investigation, and whilst it is ongoing I will continue to perform my duties as MP for Tiverton and Honiton.

“I will not be making further comments at this stage.”

Mr Parish has represented the Devon constituency since 2010. ”

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MP Neil Parish who has had the Conservative whip suspended while he is being investigated for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons chamber. Picture: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA Wire

His suspension comes after the Tories looked to refer the matter to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which looks into claims of bullying and sexual harassment.

It is understood that process has now started after at least one witness made a referral.

But a second investigation could be launched after Mr Parish’s commitment to refer himself to the Standards Committee.

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It was unclear what potential breach of the MPs’ code of conduct he would report himself for.

But it is thought one investigation for Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone could be whether Mr Parish caused “significant damage to the reputation and integrity” of the Commons.

Mr Parish was asked about the allegations during an appearance on GB News earlier this week, first on whether the MP in question should have the whip removed.

“I think the whip’s office will do a thorough investigation and we will wait and see that result and I think from that then the decision will have to be made what action will be taken,” he responded.

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He then denied there was a large cultural problem in Westminster, despite senior Conservative colleagues having decried it as being “shameful”.

“We’ve got some 650 Members of Parliament in what is a very intense area,” Mr Parish said.

“We are going to get people that step over the line. I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture here, but I think it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously and that’s what the whips will do.”

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire accused the Government of “rotting from the head down”.

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The Labour frontbencher said: “The Conservatives knew for days about the disgusting behaviour of one of their MPs and tried to cover it up.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had earlier told LBC it was not good enough for Boris Johnson to “simply hide behind the independent process".

“There's a growing groundswell of feeling that the Prime Minister needs to grip this and take action,” he said.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper called for the Prime Minister to order Mr Parish to resign.

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“If Boris Johnson had any shred of decency left, he would tell Neil Parish to resign immediately,” she said.