'Porn MP' Neil Parish was searching for 'Dominator' combine harvesters

‘Porn MP’ Neil Parish was searching for ‘Dominator’ brand combine harvesters when he looked at explicit material in Parliament, his friends say

  • Devon county councillor Colin Slade said Parish was looking for farm machinery
  • He told the Telegraph his friend was looking for ‘Dominator’ combine harvesters 
  • Slade said he ‘could see’ how the search could lead to inappropriate content
  • Parish has previously been photographed standing on a ‘Dominator’ harvester
  • The 65-year-old announced he would resign as a Tory MP following the scandal 
  • He was seen watching porn on his phone in the House of Commons 

Former Tory MP Neil Parish, who resigned yesterday over his porn-watching scandal in the House of Commons, was in fact searching for ‘Dominator’ combine harvesters when he opened a link to an adult website, his friends claim.

Devon county councillor Colin Slade said that Mr Parish was looking at the farm vehicles when the now infamous incident in the Commons took place. 

Mr Slade told The Telegraph he ‘could see’ how the search might have led to inappropriate content, arguing: ‘I have never had any concerns about his behaviour and I regard Neil as totally truthful. 

‘I saw his BBC interview, which was very heartfelt, in which he said he was wrong and he was sorry.’ 

Mr Slade’s suggestion has not yet been confirmed by Mr Parish, though the former Tory MP did say he was looking at tractors when he stumbled upon adult content.

The 65-year-old environment and rural affairs committee chairman, who is a farmer by trade, announced last night that he would quit his Tiverton and Honiton seat after admitting he watched porn on his phone while sat on the Commons’ green benches. 

Mr Slade’s comments come as MPs face increasing pressure to clean up Westminster politics amid a wave of sordid claims about booze-fuelled behavior that has left Parliament’s reputation in the gutter.

Former Tory MP Neil Parish, who resigned yesterday over his porn-watching scandal in the House of Commons, was in fact searching for ‘Dominator’ combine harvesters when he opened a link to an adult website, his friends claim (Parish is pictured on a Dominator combine harvester)

The 65-year-old environment and rural affairs committee chairman, who is a farmer by trade, announced last night that he would quit his Tiverton and Honiton seat after admitting he watched porn on his phone while sat on the Commons’ green benches

In an interview with BBC South West, he said that the first time he viewed the material it was accidental and he was trying to look at tractors

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 before his resignation

Among the claims are a minister accused of having ‘noisy sex’ in his parliamentary office, a Tory MP who sent a ‘d**k pic’ to a female colleague and another who has been given repeated warnings for his use of prostitutes.

Another MP is also said to have drunkenly licked men’s faces which cavorting in one of Parliament’s many bars.

The Sunday Times alleged today one MP got so drunk on champagne at a posh parliamentary bash they had to be escorted out, while in a separate incident a female researcher got so drunk she vomited in a Commons’ bar and was later found passed out. 

The new claims come after previous allegations of boorish and misogynistic behaviour by male politicians, including likening female MPs to sex workers because of the way they are dressed. 

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today called for ‘radical’ reform to working practices, including ending the direct employment of aides by MPs, to make it easier for them to make complaints without fear of losing their jobs.

His bid for change was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the Commons, who in 2018 spearheaded the creation of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which looks into claims of bullying and sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden reiterated a commitment from Boris Johnson to ensure half of Conservative candidates for the Commons are women.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Dowden said the Tories need to ensure their candidate list ‘reflects the fact that half the population are women’.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today denied there was a ‘culture of misogyny’  in Parliament. 

He blamed bad behaviour on ‘a few bad apples’ and told Sky News: ‘Generally, most MPs have a sense of responsibility… in some instances people do act irresponsibly.’

And he said shutting Parliament’s bars to tackle sexual misconduct and sleaze would be ‘excessively puritanical’.

An extra-ordinary rap sheet of sexist and misogynistic behaviour has been revealed in the wake of Neil Parish’s resignation for watching pornography while sat in the Commons.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today called for ‘radical’ reform to working practices, including ending the direct employment of aides by MPs, to make it easier for them to make complaints without fear of losing their jobs.

His bid for change was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the Commons, who told The Sunday Times: ‘Things haven’t changed and that’s because there aren’t enough cases coming through and it’s taking too long for investigations to come to an end.’

Ex-Tory minister warned me about ‘predatory’ men in Parliament – SNP MP 

A former Conservative minister warned a newly elected Scottish MP which ‘predatory’ men to avoid in Parliament.

Anum Qaisar, who was elected SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts in May 2021, said she was told by opposition MPs which men to avoid in Parliament.

She told Sky News that a former Conservative minister approached her at a parliamentary event after noticing she was uncomfortable with a male politician being ‘too cavalier’.

She said: ‘Despite the fact we have this horrific, toxic culture in Westminster, it’s women looking after women.

‘Since I joined Parliament, I’ve been taken aside by female MPs to warn me about some male MPs who say ”Actually, Anum, you’re probably better off staying away from X, Y and Z”.

‘In my situation, I was at a parliamentary event and a certain male MP made a beeline for me. I started to feel really uncomfortable because he was being far too over-cavalier.

‘It was actually a Conservative MP – a former minister – who took me aside and said ”Look, it seems like you feel uncomfortable. Do you want to stay with me? You’re probably best just to stay away from that person”.’

 

Mr Kwarteng also did not back all-women shortlists for parliamentary candidates, telling Sky News: ‘I’ve never been a fan of quotas but I think we should do all we can to encourage more women to come into politics and from diverse backgrounds.’

Senior Conservative Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Women and Equalities Committee, has accused the Tories of ‘institutional sexism’. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for behavioural and cultural change to tackle sleaze in Westminster, suggesting Boris Johnson must set a better example for his MPs.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘We need to listen to women and I’ve spoken to a number of women in the last few days and they’re very clear that whilst there does need to be culture change, those who are engaged in this sort of activity, whether it’s comments about Angela Rayner or whether it’s watching porn in the House of Commons, have to take responsibility.’

He also called for ‘political leadership’.

He said that when a Tory colleague gets into trouble, ministers’ ‘first instinct is to push it off into the long grass, hide what’s happening, and that’s a political problem because the fish rots from the head’.

Sir Keir did not give specific answers to solve the problem, instead calling for behavioural and cultural change.

‘The Speaker wants to pull parties together, I’m very happy to participate in that,’ he added.

Mr Parish last night revealed he and his wife have received death threats, saying: ‘You know what happened to (murdered MP) David Amess… he was a great friend of mine. 

‘I might have done things or I might not have done things but I am not here to be killed and I am not here to have my family threatened.’

Mr Parish struggled to hold back tears as told how in a ‘moment of madness’ he then deliberately watched the x-rated video a second time while he was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the Commons chamber.

Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who described the allegations against him as ‘very embarrassing’ in The Times. Parish said he and his wife have received death threats

Susan Parish (left), his wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is ‘all very embarrassing’

Parish is the chair of the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

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

Neil Parish 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.

The married father-of-two had previously vowed to continue as the MP for Tiverton and Honiton after it was revealed he was the politician seen watching porn by two Conservative colleagues, but finally bowed to pressure to resign this afternoon.

He said in an interview with BBC South West that he recognised the ‘furore’ and ‘damage’ he was causing his family and his constituency in Devon before deciding ‘it just wasn’t worth carrying on’.

‘The situation was, funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at, so I did get into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done,’ Mr Parish said.

‘My crime, my most biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.

‘I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it, intimidating women, I mean I have 12 years in Parliament and probably got one of the best reputations ever – or did have.’

When pressed on why he chose to view the material in the Commons, he said: ‘I don’t know, I think I must’ve taken complete leave of my senses and my sensibilities and my sense of decency, everything.’  

‘I thought that I could explain to the standards committee what happened and it would be worth explaining what happened which I will in a minute.’

He added: ‘What I do want to put on record is that for all my rights and wrongs, I was not proud of what I was doing. The one thing I wasn’t doing and which I will take to my grave as being true is I was not actually making sure people could see it.

‘In fact, I was trying to do quite the opposite. I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it and intimidating women.’

He continued: ‘Total madness. I’m not going to defend it. I’m also not going to defend what I did. What I did was absolutely, totally wrong. In the end, what do you do?’

He told the BBC that he and his wife discussed fighting it in some way yesterday morning.

‘I was wrong. I searched my conscience and that’s why I’m here this afternoon. I’m not trying to be virtuous about it in any shape or form. I was wrong. I was stupid. I lost a sense of mind.

‘What is done is done. What I am saying is one can use process to delay and hold things up. I decided not to.’

He was suspended by the Conservatives on Friday under investigation after confirming that he was the MP who had been seen watching the material.

His resignation will trigger a by-election in the South West seat of Tiverton and Honiton in Devon which has a Conservative majority of over 14,000.

The resignation follows Parish’s wife, Sue Parish, promising to stand by her husband in an interview with the Times today.

Mrs Parish, said the incident was ‘very embarrassing’ but added that ‘if you were mad with every man who looked at pornography, you would not have many wives in the world.’

His wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is ‘all very embarrassing’.

After hearing about the allegation, Mrs Parish said: ‘My breath was taken away, frankly,’ although she defended her husband. ‘No. He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.’

She said: ‘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 cross as they were because I was cross, too.’

Mr Parish admitted that as reports emerged yesterday naming him as the MP in question, he was unable to contact his wife because his phone battery was flat.

By the time he arrived home from a constituency surgery, Mrs Parish had already learned the news. Having reached their red-brick farmhouse in Stretcholt near Bridgwater, Somerset, Mr Parish broke down in tears and told her: ‘I’m sorry you married a f****** idiot.’

Labour welcomed Parish’s resignation after it was announced.

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House of Commons said: ‘This is the right decision, the people of Tiverton and Honiton deserve better than Neil Parish’s disgusting behaviour.

‘But it’s shocking that the Conservatives have allowed this debacle to drag out over many days.

‘Time and again the Tories refuse to act, resorting to cover ups and dragging the reputation of other MPs and the House down with them.

‘From the Owen Paterson scandal, voting to keep Rob Roberts in parliament, and their failure to act against their paedophile MP Imran Ahmad Khan, this Conservative government is rotting from the head down.

‘Britain deserves better.’

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner was more incredulous.

She tweeted: ‘He was looking for tractors but ended up with porn actors?

‘Neil Parish must think you were all born yesterday. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are a national embarrassment.’

The sentiment was echoed by Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper who said: ‘It is appalling that Neil Parish had to be pushed to resign after those in charge of the Conservative Party spent days dragging their feet.

‘This still leaves unanswered questions about Boris Johnson’s leadership and his failure to trust the word of his female MPs.

‘The Conservative party must now swiftly call a by-election, so the people of Tiverton and Honiton can finally get the proper representation they deserve.

‘From health and crime failures to partygate and porn scandals, the Conservatives are taking voters for granted. This Thursday is a chance to send a clear message that Boris Johnson’s time is up.’

Nicola Sturgeon has said the resignation of Neil Parish should be a moment for society to say ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to misogyny.

The First Minister reacted to news of the MP’s resignation as she campaigned in Burntisland, Fife, on Saturday.

She told the PA news agency: ‘I don’t think there could really be any other outcome to what has come to light about this particular MP over the last few days.

‘Watching porn on a mobile phone in the House of Commons when you’re there representing constituents is just unacceptable.’

She said sexism and misogyny were a ‘societal problem’ which now needed to change.

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