The wife of a Tory MP has said it is “very embarrassing” that her husband has been suspended over an allegation that he had viewed a pornography video on his phone in the House of Commons.
Neil Parish, who represents Tiverton and Honiton in east Devon, was identified today as the MP at the centre of a complaint earlier this week.
A female MP had reported that she saw Mr Parish viewing the explicit video while sitting on the benches in the Commons chamber.
His wife Sue Parish told The Times that the allegation was “very embarrassing” and that pornography is “degrading, demeaning” to women.
She told the newspaper: “He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.
“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.”
“I don’t understand [the attraction of] it. I’m a woman. Hence why the women were so cross. It’s degrading. It’s demeaning. But on the other hand it takes two to tango. There must be women posing for all this,” she also said.
After his name was revealed, it was announced by the government that Mr Parish has referred himself for investigation by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone.
He has also suggested that he could have opened the video on his phone by accident.
Meanwhile, Mr Parish – who is also the Commons environment committee chair – has vowed to stay on as MP after opposition parties called on him to resign.
Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, added: “If Boris Johnson had any shred of decency left, he would tell Neil Parish to resign immediately.
“In any other workplace this would count as gross misconduct and the person responsible would lose their job. Parliament should be no different.”
Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s shadow leader of the Commons, said: “The Conservatives knew for days about the disgusting behaviour of one of their MPs and tried to cover it up.
“From the Owen Paterson scandal to their failure to act against their paedophile MP Imran Ahmad Khan, this is a government rotting from the head down. Britain deserves better.”
In a statement released on his website, Mr Parish said he hopes to continue with his work as an MP at least until the probe ends.
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