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Two Conservative politicians responsible for women’s safeguarding and equalities have rejected calls for Neil Parish to stand down immediately while the MP is under investigation for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons.

Asked if it was appropriate for him to carry on, Rachel Maclean, minister for safeguarding, told Times Radio: ‘I genuinely think that’s a matter for him, but of course there are robust processes to support constituents, any member of the public who wants to see their MP, and all of those matters are very much at the forefront of the investigation system that we have.

‘Clearly if people are under investigation for certain issues it is right that that’s taken into account on how they carry out their duties.’

Asked if she was showing double standards, she said: ‘I want to be clear he is not continuing his business as normal, he’s under investigation, and I’m confident that the appropriate measures will be put in place to safeguard any of his constituents, particularly women and girls.’

She told Sky News: ‘Clearly if this is substantiated and those allegations turn out to be true, of course I stand by what I said, but at the same time there is now an investigation so it wouldn’t be helpful for me to speculate on the specific outcomes.

‘This type of behaviour has no place in any workplace let alone Parliament, but I think everybody would accept that when there’s an allegation that’s made… it isn’t really for us, as colleagues, to sit on judgment on another colleague, it is for that process to take.

‘I’ve absolutely every confidence in the Chief Whip, he’s acting incredibly quickly, I don’t see why the investigation can’t be concluded very quickly and I’m certain that appropriate action will then follow from that.’ 

Rachel Maclean (pictured) has rejected calls for Neil Parish to stand down immediately while the MP is under investigation for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons

Rachel Maclean (pictured) has rejected calls for Neil Parish to stand down immediately while the MP is under investigation for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons

Rachel Maclean (pictured) has rejected calls for Neil Parish to stand down immediately while the MP is under investigation for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons 

Tory MP Caroline Nokes also did not call for her Conservative colleague to immediately stand down, and said the investigation should take place before further steps are taken

Tory MP Caroline Nokes also did not call for her Conservative colleague to immediately stand down, and said the investigation should take place before further steps are taken

Tory MP Caroline Nokes also did not call for her Conservative colleague to immediately stand down, and said the investigation should take place before further steps are taken

Conservative Party is ‘institutionally sexist’

Senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes has claimed that that the Conservative party is ‘institutionally sexist’ and believes there is a culture of ‘male entitlement’ among the group. 

The chair of the Women and Equalities Committee told The Times, after being briefed not to speak out over the porn watching allegation, that ‘misogynistic nicknames and smears’ could be used to belittle colleagues less ‘robust’ than her. 

‘There’s a sense of women in parliament being tolerated rather than valued,’ she said. 

‘There are women in the party who have amazing attributes which get ignored. It still very much feels like it’s run by an old boys club.’

Yesterday, a Cabinet minister yesterday revealed she was once ‘pinned up against the wall’ by a male MP.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’.

But she said a few behaved badly when they had ‘too much drink’, insisting people should act ‘as if their daughter was in the room’. 

Ms Trevelyan spoke about one extraordinary incident when she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a man who is now no longer an MP.   

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Senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes has said it will be ‘difficult’ for Neil Parish to continue spending the required time in Parliament while under investigation for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons chamber.

The chair of the Women and Equalities Committee did not call for her Conservative colleague to immediately stand down, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it’s right those investigations are carried out before any further action is taken.’

Asked about him continuing as a select committee chair, she said: ‘That’s a matter for Neil to discuss with the party whips and to take a position on, but I think whilst he’s under investigation it’s going to make it very difficult for him to be in the Commons as much as he needs to be.’ 

However Ms Nokes accused the Conservative whips of ‘dither and delay’ in suspending Neil Parish from the parliamentary party over the pornography allegations.

‘I felt by leaving it until Friday before we knew that action had been taken by the whips that it felt like unnecessary dither and delay,’ she told the radio station.

Ms Maclean added: ‘I agree with pretty much everything that she [Ms Nokes] said. I think it is right that action has been taken, that the Chief Whip has taken the action he has taken. There clearly needed to be some time to establish the veracity, the facts of the case.’ 

Ms Nokes has also claimed that that the Conservative Party is ‘institutionally sexist’ and believes there is a culture of ‘male entitlement’ among the group. 

She told The Times, after being briefed not to speak out over the porn watching allegation, that ‘misogynistic nicknames and smears’ could be used to belittle colleagues less ‘robust’ than her.

‘There’s a sense of women in parliament being tolerated rather than valued,’ she said. 

‘There are women in the party who have amazing attributes which get ignored. It still very much feels like it’s run by an old boys club.’ 

Yesterday, the wife of porn probe MP Neil Parish has told an interviewer that the allegations against her husband are ‘very embarrassing’ while he refuses to quit the House of Commons after having the whip withdrawn, claiming he viewed the ‘x-rated site by mistake’.

Mr Parish’s wife of 40 years Susan said she was completely unaware of her husband having done such things in the past.

Meanwhile, Mr Parish was asked whether he opened a file ‘in error’, to which he replied: ‘I did, but let the inquiry look at that.’

He said he would quit if he was found guilty following an investigation and apologised for the incident, adding that he had only told his wife that afternoon. 

Mrs Parish said: ‘It was all very embarrassing. My breath was taken away, frankly.

‘People shouldn’t be looking at pornography. He would never just sit there with people looking. He would never just do that knowing [people were looking].

‘These ladies were quite right to be as [upset] as they were. I’ve just no idea what happens in these circumstances. I don’t know whether it’s ever happened before,’ she told The Times.

Under-fire Tory MP Neil Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who has described the allegations against him as 'very embarrassing'

Under-fire Tory MP Neil Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who has described the allegations against him as 'very embarrassing'

Under-fire Tory MP Neil Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who has described the allegations against him as ‘very embarrassing’

Susan Parish, pictured with her husband Neil Parish - the Tory MP who stands accused of watching porn in the House of Commons chamber while female colleagues sat closely by

Susan Parish, pictured with her husband Neil Parish - the Tory MP who stands accused of watching porn in the House of Commons chamber while female colleagues sat closely by

Susan Parish, pictured with her husband Neil Parish – the Tory MP who stands accused of watching porn in the House of Commons chamber while female colleagues sat closely by

Mrs Parish described her husband as a good person and MP, and insisted the drama was ‘so stupid’.

Yesterday afternoon, a visibly upset Mr Parish spoke to reporters outside his home and said he’d been unable to speak to his wife immediately after referring himself to the standards watchdog.

He said: ‘I’d just been to a surgery in Honiton and this is God’s own truth, the mobile phone was completely flat – I had to come back on the M5 otherwise I would have spoken to her sooner.’

When asked if he understood why people were upset, Mr Parish said: ‘Of course I do and I apologise for that. But I will still await the findings of the inquiry.’ 

The Tiverton and Honiton MP told GB News this week that Westminster could be ‘intense’ and ‘you are going to get people that step over the line’ when asked about the latest sleaze scandal to rock Westminster. 

Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home yesterday in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated

Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home yesterday in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated

Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home yesterday in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated

The 65-year-old had the party whip suspended yesterday afternoon after finally being identified as the man allegedly spotted browsing smut by Tory women, following days of fevered speculation.

Mr Parish, who has been an MP since 2010 and is chair of the cross-party Environment Committee, has referred himself to the standards watchdog over allegations that he had been seen watching adult material in the House by two female colleagues.

Appearing on GB News earlier this week, Mr Parish himself said the claims had to be dealt with ‘seriously’ and backed Tory whips to conduct a ‘thorough investigation’.

He then added: ‘If you’ve got sort of 650 members of parliament in what is a very intense area, you are going to get people that step over the line… 

‘I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture (of misogyny) here but I think it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously. That’s what the whips will do.’ 

Yesterday evening he was facing renewed calls to quit from opposition parties. But in a statement last night he vowed to continue working as an MP. 

Writing on his website, he said: ‘I will be cooperating fully with any investigation, and whilst it is ongoing I will continue to perform my duties as MP for Tiverton and Honiton.’ 

MP Neil Parish, pictured at his home yesterday, has had the Conservative whip suspended while he is being investigated for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons

MP Neil Parish, pictured at his home yesterday, has had the Conservative whip suspended while he is being investigated for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons

MP Neil Parish, pictured at his home yesterday, has had the Conservative whip suspended while he is being investigated for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons

Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, Chris Heaton-Harris, has now suspended the whip from the MP

Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, Chris Heaton-Harris, has now suspended the whip from the MP

MP Nickie Aiken has said the Tory MP responsible for watching pornography in the Houses of Parliament should quit

MP Nickie Aiken has said the Tory MP responsible for watching pornography in the Houses of Parliament should quit

Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris (left) has now suspended the whip from the MP pending an investigation. Backbencher Nickie Aiken (right) said the Tory MP responsible for watching pornography in the Houses of Parliament should quit

Who is Neil Parish? Somerset farmer turned politician who left school at 16 and became a ‘Rottweiler’ on rural issues

Neil Parish – who was yesterday named as the MP accused of watching porn in the Commons – is a former Somerset farmer who has spend more than two decades as a politician in Westminster and Brussels.

Born in Bridgewater, a historic market town on the edge of the Somerset Levels, he became MP for Tiverton and Honiton, a picturesque constituency in the heart of south-west England, in 2010 after a decade as a Tory MEP. Before that he served as a local councillor.

The 65-year-old has been a member of the Environment and rural affairs committee since 2010 and was once branded a ‘Rottweiler’ by former farming minister David Miliband. 

Mr Parish left school at 16 without qualifications and began working on the family farm, where he still lives. He is married to Susan, a teacher, and they have two children and two grandchildren

A biography on Politico described him as a ‘devoted family man’, with him and his wife considered something of a ‘double act’. 

It continued: ‘Shorter than average and slightly rotund, Parish makes up in personality what he lacks in height. He is a whirlwind of activity, giving the impression he never stays still for very long. 

‘One of his political opposites in the Parliament describes Parish as ”personable” – it is difficult to find anyone who dislikes him – but says he suspects him of being ”shallow”, accusing him of a tendency to jump on other people’s bandwagons for the sake of publicity. The same person adds with a sigh: ”He’s a pretty nice guy actually”.’

Mr Parish is known to indulge in stunts, and while an MEP drove a hybrid car from Brussels to 

Alongside rural issues, he is also interested in animal welfare, and launched a select committee inquiry into the treatment of domestic pets, including cats, dogs and horses. 

Mr Parish’s other interests include African politics, according to an online biography. During the 2000 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe, he acted as an election monitor and criticised the conduct of Robert Mugabe’s regime. 

Following this, Robert Mugabe banned Neil from re-entering the country, a ban that remains in place to this day. He was recently among more than 280 MPs to be sanctioned by Vladimir Putin’s regime for comments he had made in Parliament in support of Ukraine. He described this as a ‘badge of honour’. 

His most recent work in Parliament was launching an inquiry into marine mammals, which will look into their welfare in UK waters and worldwide.  

Yesterday he was suspended by the Conservatives pending an investigation. An investigation by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) was launched after the allegations surfaced during a meeting of Tory MPs on Tuesday. 

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Shadow Commons Leader Thangam Debbonaire said: ‘The Conservatives knew for days about the disgusting behaviour of one of their MPs and tried to cover it up…

‘This is a government rotting from the head down. Britain deserves better.’

Though the allegations are still be to investigated, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said Boris Johnson must order his MP to quit.

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

‘In any other workplace this would count as gross misconduct and the person responsible would lose their job. Parliament should be no different.

‘We don’t need to insult the women MPs who witnessed this with a lengthy investigation. All his bosses need to do is ask for his devices and look at his viewing history, this isn’t rocket science.’

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said she had been ‘disappointed’ that the whip was not suspended immediately but was now ‘very relieved’.

She told ITV News: ‘I’ve been calling for the Chief Whip to remove the whip from when we first heard about this incident…

‘I’m pleased that action has been taken and I hope that the two women who complained are being supported through the system as well.’

The PM has previously condemned the alleged watching of porn in the Commons, while other Conservatives said the MP involved should take a ‘long, hard look’ at themselves and resign.

A spokeswoman for Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris yesterday afternoon blew the lid on Mr Parish’s identity, saying: ‘Having spoken to the Chief Whip this afternoon, Neil Parish MP is reporting himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

‘Mr Parish has been suspended from the Conservative Whip pending the outcome of that investigation.’

It is understood a process has now been launched through Parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme (ICGS). 

Meanwhile, there have been complaints that Mr Heaton-Harris had kicked the scandal ‘into the long grass’ by referring it to the Parliamentary grievance process rather than taking action. 

It appears the IGCS inquiry has now been triggered with at least one of the witnesses making a complaint. 

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

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

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

MPs have reacted with revulsion to the claims that a Tory had been caught by two of his female colleagues watching porn in the House of Commons.

On a visit to Burnley yesterday, the PM told broadcasters: ‘I think it’s obviously unacceptable for anybody to be doing that kind of thing in the workplace.

‘It would be the same for any kind of job up and down the country, let’s be absolutely clear about that.

‘What needs to happen now is that the proper procedures need to be gone through, the independent complaints and grievances procedure needs to be activated and we need to get to understand the facts but, yeah, that kind of behaviour is clearly totally unacceptable.’

Attorney General Suella Braverman said if the MP was found to have been watching adult material it should result in them ‘no longer holding their privileged position as a Member of Parliament’.

She said there was a ‘very small minority of men – and it is men – who fall short and there are some bad apples who are out of order – who behave like animals, and are bringing Parliament into disrepute to be honest’.

Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons

Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons

Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons

Mr Parish was met by journalists as he arrived back at his Somerset home following news that he is the MP alleged to have watched porn in the Commons

Mr Parish was met by journalists as he arrived back at his Somerset home following news that he is the MP alleged to have watched porn in the Commons

Mr Parish, who has represented his constituency since 2010, appeared unphased and continued towards his home

Mr Parish, who has represented his constituency since 2010, appeared unphased and continued towards his home

Mr Parish was met by journalists as he arrived back at his Somerset home following the revelation that he is the MP alleged to have watched porn in the Commons

Tory MP Nickie Aiken said earlier that the alleged porn-watching MP ‘has to resign’ from the Commons as she warned that he was causing ‘pain, suffering and embarrassment’ to both the party and Parliament.

He should ‘take a very very long, hard look’ at himself and ask ‘should I still be here?’, she told Times Radio.

Yesterday, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’.

But she said a few behaved badly when they had ‘too much drink’, insisting people should act ‘as if their daughter was in the room’. 

Ms Trevelyan spoke about one extraordinary incident when she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a man who is now no longer an MP. 

Ms Trevelyan told Sky News of male MPs: ‘There are a few for whom too much drink, or indeed a sort of, a view that somehow being elected makes them you know, God’s gift to women, that they can suddenly please themselves, that is never OK, that kind of behaviour, disrespect for women.’

She added: ‘Fundamentally, if you’re a bloke, keep your hands in your pockets and behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room.’

Ms Trevelyan told LBC Radio: ‘I’ve witnessed and been at the sharp end of misogyny from some colleagues many times over’.

‘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’.

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

She advised women subjected to that kind of behaviour to ‘make public humiliation one of your tools’.

However, while Ms Trevelyan described watching porn in the Commons chamber as ‘completely unacceptable’, she declined to say whether the MP involved should be sacked.

Mr Parish pictured with Mr Johnson before the latest controversy erupted

Mr Parish pictured with Mr Johnson before the latest controversy erupted

Mr Parish pictured with Mr Johnson before the latest controversy erupted

Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to Burnley earlier this week) said it would be 'unacceptable' to watch porn in the Commons

Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to Burnley earlier this week) said it would be 'unacceptable' to watch porn in the Commons

Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to Burnley earlier this week) said it would be ‘unacceptable’ to watch porn in the Commons

Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan reveals she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by male MP as she reads riot act to sleazy politicians 

A Cabinet minister yesterday revealed she was once ‘pinned up against the wall’ by a male MP.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’.

But she said a few behaved badly when they had ‘too much drink’, insisting people should act ‘as if their daughter was in the room’. 

Ms Trevelyan spoke about one extraordinary incident when she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a man who is now no longer an MP. 

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are 'delightful' and 'committed parliamentarians'

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are 'delightful' and 'committed parliamentarians'

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’

Ms Trevelyan told Sky News of male MPs: ‘There are a few for whom too much drink, or indeed a sort of, a view that somehow being elected makes them you know, God’s gift to women, that they can suddenly please themselves, that is never OK, that kind of behaviour, disrespect for women.’

She added: ‘Fundamentally, if you’re a bloke, keep your hands in your pockets and behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room.’

Ms Trevelyan told LBC Radio: ‘I’ve witnessed and been at the sharp end of misogyny from some colleagues many times over’.

‘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’.

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

She advised women subjected to that kind of behaviour to ‘make public humiliation one of your tools’.

However, while Ms Trevelyan described watching porn in the Commons chamber as ‘completely unacceptable’, she declined to say whether the MP involved should be sacked.

Ex-minister calls for law on public porn after seeing Tube traveller viewing material at 8am 

A former minister has called for legislation to tackle public porn watching.

Lord Bethell revealed he saw a man ‘getting off’ on adult material on the Tube at 8am.

He urged Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to use the upcoming Online Safety Bill to ‘address’ the problem. 

‘I saw a man getting off on porn on the tube. At 800am. School kids nearby. Addiction. No impulse control. V sad,’ Lord Bethell tweeted.

‘@NadineDorries. Online Safety Bill needs to address this.’ 

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Source: Daily Mail

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