Boris Johnson latest news UK: Neil Parish expected to resign today over porn allegations

Neil Parish should be kicked out of Tory party if found guilty, says minister

Neil Parish is expected to tender his resignation today while being investigated for allegedly watching pornography in the Commons chamber, a Tory source has told reporters.

In the face of colleagues urging him to resign immediately and potentially end his 12-year parliamentary career, Mr Parish, who is a farmer by trade, also said he was relieved the accusations were out in the open. “It’s as if a weight is lifted,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Other than claiming he viewed the adult content in error, Mr Parish has refused to give details of exactly what happened, saying only that “it’s all going to have to go through the inquiry”. He did, however, tell the newspaper he may quit no matter the outcome.

Following a decision by the Commons standards commissioner Kathryn Stone, who Mr Parish referred himself to on Friday, he said: “Then I will make my mind up as to what I do, whether I remain in parliament or whether I leave.”

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BREAKING: Neil Parish ‘set to quit as Tory MP’ after viewing porn in Commons

More to follow from our political editor Andrew Woodcock here:

Emily Atkinson30 April 2022 13:12

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BBC’s new political editor railed against Lords in student article

As the BBC’s new political editor, Chris Mason will likely have his every word scrutinised for any sign of bias. But pieces written when he was a student show that the corporation’s star Westminster journalist didn’t always have to be so impartial.

One article written by Mr Mason for his student paper at Cambridge university, revealed his particular disdain for the House of Lords – labelling it a “talking shop for past-it politicians and do-gooders in high places”.

The Independent has unearthed the comments after Mr Mason was unveiled as the BBC’s new political editor, taking over from Laura Kuenssberg. Read them here:

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 13:10

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Revolt in true blue Tory seats ‘may hasten end for Johnson’

A revolt of traditional Conservatives in the party’s true blue strongholds in council elections this week will rack up pressure on Boris Johnson to step aside as leader, party insiders believe.

One MP told The Independent there will be “panic” if results are poor on Thursday, which is the first opportunity for voters to cast their verdict on Mr Johnson since the Partygate scandal.

The elections come as a new poll for The Independent found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of voters who backed the Tories in the 2019 general election say they are less likely to do so again if Mr Johnson remains leader.

Our poltiical editor Andrew Woodcock has the full story:

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 12:50

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Watch: Tory party ‘very laddish’ under PM’s leadership, says former minister

Tory party ‘very laddish’ under Johnson’s leadership, says former minister for women

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 12:30

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Commons ‘like boys’ prep school’, says female senior Tory

The criticism of Westminster keeps on coming. Caroline Nokes, chair of the women and equalities committee has described the atmosphere in the Commons as being like “a boys’ prep school”.

Ms Nokes, a Tory MP, revealed that she has stopped attending early-morning meetings of Tory MPs because of inappropriate comments and no longer went to the party’s annual conference because of the “horrible” behaviour she experience.

Speaking amid intense debate over misogyny in parliament sparked by the news that Tory Neil Parish watched porn in the Commons chamber, Ms Nokes revealed that she had personally been subjected to male MPs “touching, staring, bullying, trashing my reputation”.

Speaking on the Chopper’s Politics podcast, Ms Nokes criticised a “locker room” culture in the Commons which made it feel like “a boy’s prep school [except] the inmates haven’t quite got to 13”.

Our poltiical editor Andrew Woodcock has more:

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 12:10

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Porn shame MP’s wife reveals she heard news from journalist

Neil Parish’s wife has revealed that she first learnt that her husband was the MP accused of watching porn in the Commons from a journalist.

The Tory MP’s name was confirmed publicly by the Conservative whips’ office around 3pm on Friday, but it was not until he returned home later that day that Mr Parish confessed to his wife – by which time she had already been told the details in a phone call from a reporter, writes our political editor Andrew Woodcock.

Mrs Parish, 66, made clear that she was standing by her husband of 41 years, saying that the matter had been settled between them to her satisfaction.

She said she first discovered that the MP at the centre of the porn scandal was her husband when a reporter called to ask for comment. “I didn’t know anything about it until he rang and said, ‘Oh, you know what I’m ringing about…’” she told the Daily Telegraph.

“I didn’t know who was more embarrassed, actually, me or him, poor chap.”

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 11:34

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Watch: Labour accuse Tories of ‘shameful’ delay in porn case

Labour accuse Tories of ‘shameful’ delay in porn case

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 10:57

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Parish suggests he may resign over porn claims, even if cleared by parliament

Neil Parish, the Tory accused of watching pornography in the Commons debating chamber, has signalled he may stand down as an MP – even if the parliamentary watchdog investigating clears him of any wrongdoing.

In an interview with the BBC on Friday, Mr Parish said he had viewed the adult material in error but refused to give more details.

Later that same day, in another interview with The Telegraph, he said much of the same – that “it’s all going to have to go through the inquiry, and then I will give them all the evidence I have, and it’ll be for them to make the decision” – but he went a step further by suggesting he may resign no matter the outcome.

“Then I will make my mind up as to what I do, whether I remain in parliament or whether I leave,” Mr Parish told the newspaper when explaining his next steps. It is the first signal yet that he is considering whether his position is tenable after the allegations.

Asked if he had a message for his constituents in Devon, where he lives with his wife of 41 years, Sue, Mr Parish said: “That I very much enjoy being their MP, I’ve worked very hard, and I will continue working for them. I apologise for the situation – the whip is withdrawn – but I am still their MP. And at the moment I’m still the chair of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, and I take that job very seriously. And I will carry it on for as long as I have it.”

Despite facing public ridicule and an end to his 12-year parliamentary career, Mr Parish, who is a farmer by trade, told the paper that now the accusation is “out in the open, it’s almost as if a weight is lifted off me”.

He also used the interview to thank his wife, who he described as being “amazingly loyal and better than I deserve”.

This development in the Tory party’s latest saga comes less than a week before local elections on 5 May, with some officials reportedly concerned Mr Parish is now a liability to the party.

Parish is pictured outside his home in Bridgwater, Somerset, on Friday

( SWNS)

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 10:51

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Tory MP apologises to teachers over ‘quiet drink during lockdown’ comments

Michael Fabricant has apologised for suggesting many teachers and nurses enjoyed a “quiet drink” at the end of the day in staff rooms during lockdown.

In a letter published on the NAHT schools leaders’ union website, following outrage from the sector over his comments, Mr Fabricant said it was not his intention to “cause offence” or to “demoralise”, “and I apologise if I have genuinely done so”.

The Tory MP said in a “wide-ranging” interview with the BBC, he had explained he was neither “judging nor chastising the minority of nurses or teachers who chose to unwind with a few work colleagues after a long shift”. He added: “Nor did I suggest that any were drunk.”

During the interview, the Lichfield MP – who is a staunch supporter of the PM – said he did not think Boris Johnson knew he was breaking the law when he attended a gathering in Downing Street in June 2020 to celebrate his 56th birthday. Mr Johnson has subsequently paid a fine for attending the event in violation of coronavirus rules.

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant

(PA)

In his apology, Mr Fabricant said that since the interview, a number of other cases of teachers drinking at school had been brought to his attention. He added this was “not surprising given that there are some 500,000 nurses and 625,000 teachers throughout Britain”.

But he admitted: “My error in one part of the programme – which was repeated on TV – was to give the impression this was general practice by nurses and teachers: this was never the case.”

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said the union was “pleased Mr Fabricant has expressed regret for the effect of his comments – they were unjustified, unhelpful and damaging.

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 10:28

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MPs call for reform of Westminster groups to avert the ‘next great parliamentary scandal’

In other Westminster news, unofficial parliamentary groups need significant reform to avert the “next great parliamentary scandal” of lobbyists buying access to MPs, a cross-party committee has warned.

It also stressed there is a “real risk” of hostile foreign actors gaining ‘improper access and influence” through All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) – bodies that examine a wide variety of subjects, reports our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn.

In a major report, MPs on the Commons Standards Committee noted there has been a dramatic increase in the number of APPGs, and while “vital” to parliamentary work, they risk “inappropriate influence and access”.

Sam Hancock30 April 2022 10:17

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