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Boris Johnson news – live: Neil Parish vows to stay on as MP after ‘porn-watching’ claims

Opposition parties have called on him to resign as MP for Tiverton and Honiton in east Devon

Neil Parish MP speaks in Commons debate one day after porn-watching allegation

A Tory who had the whip withdrawn over claims that he watched pornography in Parliament has vowed to stay on as MP.

Neil Parish – who was today identified as the accused – was suspended from the House of Commons pending an investigation into the claims. He has referred himself for investigation by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone.

Opposition parties have called on him to resign as MP for Tiverton and Honiton in east Devon.

But in a statement released on his website, the Commons environment committee chair said he hopes to continue with his work as an MP at least until the probe ends.

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. I will not be making further comments at this stage.”

The allegations against Mr Parish were made by a female MP earlier this week. She said she had been sat next to a male MP inside the chamber when she noticed he was watching pornographic content on his phone.

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British spies to help link Russian leaders to war crimes

British intelligence is to help Ukrainian war crimes investigators establish the chain of command between leaders in Moscow and Russian commanders on the ground.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss said a team of UK war crimes experts will be travelling to Poland early in May to assist as the Ukrainians gather evidence of Russian atrocities on the ground.

They will include experts in conflict-related sexual violence.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss

Speaking following talks with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Ms Truss said British intelligence would also be assisting in holding the Russian political leadership to account.

“This is about collecting a wide range of evidence - witness statements, forensic evidence, video evidence,” she said.

“We will also use British intelligence to help show the link between what is happening on the front line and the Russian authorities, because it is important that everybody in the chain of command is held to account.”

She gave no further details, but the head of the GCHQ spy agency Sir Jeremy Fleming last month suggested they had acquired intelligence that President Vladimir Putin’s advisers were afraid to tell him what was really happening on the ground.

PA

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Supply of HRT products to be limited, Sajid Javid says

The government is taking urgent action to limit the amount of certain hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products women can access to improve the general supply across the UK.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has issued Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) to limit the dispensing of Oestrogel, Ovestin cream and Premique Low Dose to three months’ supply per person to “even out” the distribution.

The move comes in response to concerns regarding longer prescribing cycles putting pressure on availability of some HRT products.

But women who have a prescription for more than three months’ supply will not have to pay additional charges for treatment they cannot access, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Health secretary Sajid Javid

Mr Javid said: “I want to reassure women I have listened to their concerns and will not hesitate to take decisive action to ensure they can access the HRT they need.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our national mission to boost supply of HRT - and this next step will ensure women across the UK will be able to reliably access this vital medication and maintain this lifeline for millions who need it.”

HRT can help alleviate severe menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

The SSPs will expire on July 29 and the DHSC said pharmacists were expected to “use their professional judgment” on deciding how to apply them.

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Boris Johnson ‘misled’ MPs after Covid in care homes ruling

Labour has accused prime minister Boris Johnson of misleading the Commons after a damning ruling over Covid in care homes.

On Wednesday, a landmark High Court judgement said ministers had acted unlawfully by discharging untested hospital patients into care homes at the beginning of the pandemic.

Later that day, during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said: “The government didn’t know Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically”.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting claimed this was not true, highlighting a point of order raised by Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House of Commons.

Speaking to MPs on Thursday, Ms Debbonaire claimed the government was provided with evidence at the beginning of 2020 that pointed to that asymptomatic transmission of the Covid virus.

Read the full story here by Samuel Lovett

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MP suggests he may have accidentally opened porn video

Neil Parish suggested he may have accidentally opened a pornographic video in Parliament.

He said he will quit as MP for Tiverton and Honiton, in east Devon, if he is found guilty of claims that he watched an adult-rated video while sitting in the Commons chamber.

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

“I will await the findings of the inquiry and then I will consider my position. I will not remain if I am found guilty.”

He said he told his wife this afternoon, adding: “Of course it’s embarrassing and it’s embarrassing for my wife and family so that’s my main concern at the moment.”

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Labour MP apologises to Tory MP after Commons bar spat

A Labour MP has apologised after an altercation with a Conservative MP over his calls for police to investigate an alleged breach of lockdown rules by party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

North West Durham MP Richard Holden described City of Durham MP Mary Hoy’s behaviour on the House of Commons terrace bar on Tuesday evening as “totally unacceptable” and alleged she may have been affected by drink, but said he accepted her apology.

Read the full story here by Andrew Woodcock

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‘Gutter’ culture of misogyny in Parliament – say charities

Women’s charities have warned that parliament’s working culture is “in the gutter” and rife with misogyny after a Cabinet minister revealed how she was "pinned up against a wall" by a male MP.

Groups including Women’s Aid and Refuge told The Independent swift action was needed and that politicians should be setting an example.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s account comes at the end of a week in which it was disclosed that 56 MPs including three cabinet ministers are facing sexual misconduct allegations.

Read the full story here by Jon Stone

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Scotland to cut self-isolation payment by more than half

A payment designed to help those on low incomes to self isolate will be cut by more than half from next week, the Scottish government said.

The self-isolation support grant will reduce from £500 to £225 from 1 May after changes made to isolation rules mean adults will have to stay at home for only five days if they test positive for the virus.

Further changes to guidance will also see an end to mass testing – with only a select few able to access free tests – and the NHS taken off an emergency footing after Saturday. Those applying for the self-isolation grant are among the people eligible for a free test.

Mass provision of free Covid tests will end in Scotland this weekend

Close contacts will also no longer be eligible for the payment, and grants will be capped at three per claimant from 1 May.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison said: “We are ensuring people on low incomes can still receive financial support if they need to isolate, providing a transition period until June.

“The grant amount will be £225 from 1 May, reflecting the revised public health guidance which advises people who test positive to stay at home for five days, instead of the 10-day isolation period that was previously in place.”

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UK minister to visit BVI after premier’s arrest

Minister for overseas territories Amanda Milling will travel to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) for talks after its premier Andrew Fahie was arrested on charges linked to drugs trafficking.

Mr Fahie and Oleanvine Maynard, managing director of the BVI port authority, were arrested on charges of conspiring to import more than 5kg of cocaine into the US, as well as money laundering, the Miami Herald reported.

Ms Maynard’s son Kadeem Maynard was also arrested, but not in Miami – the newspaper added.

BVI premier Andrew Fahie

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “The arrest yesterday of the premier of the British Virgin Islands on charges related to drugs trafficking and money laundering is extremely concerning and underlines the need for urgent action.

“The (independent inquiry into the island’s governance) report published today by the Governor shows clearly that substantial legislative and constitutional change is required to restore the standards of governance that the people of the British Virgin Islands are entitled to.

“I have instructed the minister for overseas territories to travel to the territory immediately to speak to the Governor and key stakeholders. We will then announce a clear path forward.

“The overseas territories are a core part of the UK family. The UK Government is committed to the security and wellbeing of the people of the British Virgin Islands.”

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‘Tories trying to fling mud ahead of elections’ – Starmer says

Sir Keir Starmer said it “makes absolutely no difference” whether deputy Angela Rayner was present when he was seen drinking a beer during Covid restrictions.

In February, the Labour leader was cleared of breaking lockdown rules after he was filmed drinking a beer in an office in April 2021.

Sir Keir said that, with the local elections on 5 May, the Tories have been “trying to throw as much mud as they possibly can” at the opposition while PM Boris Johnson’s party deals with its scandals.

Sir Keir told the BBC: “Whether Angela Rayner was there or not makes absolutely no difference – there was no breach of the rules, the matter has already been looked into.

“Stark contrast between that and the goings-on at Downing Street where we know there were 50 fines issued already and an investigation still going on, so there’s absolutely no comparison to be made here.

“Obviously I do understand, with elections coming, why the Tories are trying to throw as much mud as they possibly can but the issue that I’m utterly focused on is the cost-of-living crisis, helping people with their energy bills and calling the government out for imposing even more tax on people in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”

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