UK MP resigns after admitting watching porn in parliament

A lawmaker from Britain’s ruling Conservative party announced on Saturday he will resign, after admitting he had deliberately watched pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons chamber, reports AFP.

Neil Parish, who represents a seat in southwest England, said he was standing down and triggering a by-election in the Tory stronghold after what he called an indefensible moment of “total madness”.

“I think I must have taken complete leave of my senses and my sensibilities and in a sense of decency, everything,” he told the BBC in a candid interview aired on Saturday announcing his resignation.

“(It was) a moment of madness and also totally wrong… I’m not going to defend it.”

The 65-year-old, who has been an MP since 2010, had already been suspended from the Conservatives and faced at least two parliamentary probes after he was publicly outed on Friday in the scandal.

His public identification ended days of speculation after it emerged at least two other lawmakers had complained that an MP had been seen watching porn in the Commons, amid broader accusations of a misogynistic environment in Britain’s parliament.

Meanwhile, voters go to the polls across Britain on Thursday, in local elections that the Tories are predicted to struggle in and could further pressure the embattled Johnson.

Parish, a farmer who has chaired a watchdog committee focused on the environment and rural affairs, said in the interview that he first watched porn in parliament after straying from a tractor website to an adult content site with a similar name.

“My biggest crime is that on another occasion, I went in a second time and that was deliberate… that was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the (Commons) chamber,” he explained. The MP added that, contrary to reports, he had not sought for his actions to be visible to colleagues.

“I will take to my grave as being true… I was not actually making sure people could see it. In fact, I was trying to do quite the opposite.”

The scandal comes days after it was revealed that at least 56 MPs, including three ministers, are currently being probed over allegations of sexual misconduct by parliament’s own complaints office.

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