Offer revamp by Commons as Tory Porn MP ends a string of scandals

Parliament is facing a reckoning to improve its reputation after a senior Conservative admitted that twice watching pornography in the House of Commons ended a string of scandals.

Eil Parish gave in to pressure to say he would resign as deputy for Tiverton and Honiton after seeing the material in the chamber during a “moment of madness”.

The 65-year-old committee chairman, who is a farmer by trade, said he accidentally saw pornography for the first time after seeing tractors online before acting deliberately.

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Neil Parish’s resignation was the latest in a series of scandals (Parliament/PA)

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is calling for “radical” reform in working practices after a spate of bullying and sexual misconduct offenses involving lawmakers.

Calling for urgent action, Sir Lindsay suggested the staff should no longer be employed by the MPs they work for to address a range of “serious allegations”.

He was considering moving to an external body that would employ advisers, as it was feared that Parliament’s reputation had reached new heights.

Writing in the Observer, Sir Lindsay said: “I believe it is time that we review our working practices and particularly whether it is right for individual MPs to be the employers of their employees. Should someone else – or an external entity – employ the staff, provided the MP has the right to choose them?

“In my opinion, it is time to think about radical actions and review structures and processes that can make a difference. Some serious accusations have been made, and we must urgently address them. It is imperative that we do the right thing for officials and MPs alike.

“At the end of the day, I want to make sure that everyone feels like they have support and a place to turn to — and to make this house not just a safe and inclusive place to work, but a model for other legislatures.”

He is looking to establish a “speakers conference” bringing together lawmakers to discuss changes.

Meanwhile, Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden reiterated Boris Johnson’s commitment to ensuring that half of the Conservative House of Commons candidates are women.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Dowden said Conservatives need to ensure that their candidate list “reflects the fact that half the population is women”.

About a quarter of the Conservative candidates in the 2019 election were women, but Labor managed to ensure that women represented more than half of its candidates.

Earlier this week, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries suggested securing “a majority of women” in Parliament could help combat Westminster’s contempt.

Parish, who chairs the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, was struggling to stay in the House of Commons after he was revealed to be the deputy that two colleagues reported watching pornography.

But on Saturday, the deputy said he would resign as he acknowledged the “puncture” and “damage” he was causing his family and constituency in Devon.

Offering an explanation of his behavior in an interview with BBC South West, Parish said: “The situation was, oddly enough, it was tractors I was looking at, so I went to another website with a very similar name and watched a bit, which I didn’t. should have done.

“My crime, my biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went for the second time, and that was deliberate.

“That was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber.”

His departure will pave the way for a by-election in the Conservative safe seat, which Parish won by more than 14,000 votes over Labor in 2019.

It was the latest in a series of hard-hitting developments that have dogged the House of Commons in recent weeks.

Three Cabinet ministers are among 56 lawmakers allegedly facing allegations of sexual misconduct that have been referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

Senior Labor MP Liam Byrne is due to be suspended from the House of Commons for two days for bullying a member of staff.

David Warburton withdrew the Conservative whip after allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use emerged.

Former Tory Imran Ahmad Khan has resigned after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Parish still faces an investigation by the Independent Grievance and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which looks into allegations of bullying and sexual harassment.

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