Former MP Neil Parish may stand in by-election caused by his own resignation
- Credit: Archant
Disgraced politician Neil Parish has not ruled out running against his old colleagues in the Tory party in the by-election triggered by his resignation for watching pornography in Parliament.
Mr Parish, who is a farmer by trade, was forced out after admitting watching X-rated videos, first saying he accidentally viewed one when browsing for tractors, before later doing so deliberately in the Commons chamber.
In an interview with the Telegraph as he left Westminster, the 65-year-old said he could rely on his support in the farming community by running as an independent in the up-coming vote in Tiverton and Honiton.
“It is an option for me and one I could consider, the only thing that may well stop me is the fact that my local party, my local activists, my local councillors, all which are friends, I don’t know if I want to do that to them,” Mr Parish told the Chopper’s Politics podcast.
“Some of the hierarchy of my own party I suppose I wouldn’t have the same problem in doing it. At the moment I’m taking soundings. I can raise the money, yeah, yeah.
“I don’t think I would have any problem in doing all that. I’ve got some quite powerful backers in the farming community.
“I don’t think I’m going there – but it is an option.”
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Mr Parish acknowledged he had swelled the Conservatives’ majority in the Devonshire seat since he was elected in 2010, but said his immediate concerns lay elsewhere.
He said: “Neil Parish wants to go home and lick his wounds and also give time to let the shock of what I’ve done pass.
“I’ll breed some more cattle, probably Herefords or Devons. My wife and I are talking about we’re great dog lovers so we might breed a few puppies.”
Mr Parish, whose downfall was brought about by two women MPs reporting having seen him watching porn in the Commons, sought to defend his record amid allegations of misogyny in Westminster.
“One ridiculous point from me to get myself into this situation is if you ask people, you’ll find no friendlier and nicer MP,” the former chair of the the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee said.
“I never accosted women, I never suggested anything – I might have jokes with them, but that’s all.”