Tory MP Neil Parish suspended amid claims of watching porn in House of Commons

Allegation follows series of accusations of misconduct involving MPs in Westminster

The Conservatives on Friday suspended a senior MP from the parliamentary party after he was named as the backbencher accused of watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons chamber.

Neil Parish, chair of the Commons environment committee, was identified as the person whom two female MPs complained about, three days after the pornography allegations against an unnamed parliamentarian first surfaced.

It comes after a series of claims of misconduct involving MPs, with much of it focused on misogyny. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, international trade secretary, on Friday revealed she had been subjected to “wandering hands” by half a dozen men at Westminster.

The allegations against Mr Parish that he watched pornography on his phone are being investigated by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, a parliamentary watchdog established after a sexual harassment scandal at Westminster in 2017.

The watchdog looks into complaints relating to current and former MPs and their staff.

A spokesperson for the Tory chief whip said: “Mr Parish has been suspended from the Conservative whip pending the outcome of that investigation.” The news was first reported by the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, has reported himself to Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

Mr Parish said he “will be co-operating fully with any investigation”, and would continue his duties as a constituency MP.

Asked by broadcasters if he opened something in error in the Commons, he said: “I did, but let the inquiry look at that.”

The claims against Mr Parish came to light at a meeting on Tuesday where female MPs shared their experiences of sexism in parliament.

Ms Trevelyan said most of her male colleagues were delightful, committed parliamentarians but said others believed that “they can suddenly please themselves” at Westminster.

“We might describe it as wandering hands, if you like. We might describe it as, you know, a number of years ago being pinned up against a wall by a male MP who is now no longer in the House, I’m pleased to say, declaring that I must want him because he was a powerful man,” she told LBC Radio.

“These sorts of things, these power abuses, that a very small minority, thank goodness, of male colleagues show is completely unacceptable.”

Attorney general Suella Braverman said on Thursday most men she had worked with were respectable but a small minority were “out of order” and “behave like animals and are bringing parliament into disrepute”.

Imran Ahmad Khan, Conservative MP for Wakefield, was this month convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. He was expelled from the Conservative party.

David Warburton, Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome, had the whip suspended this month after it transpired he was under investigation for alleged sexual harassment.

Liam Byrne, a former Labour minister, is to be suspended from the Commons after Ms Stone said in a report on Thursday that he had bullied a former member of his staff. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022/PA