UK Conservative lawmaker resigns after admitting he watched porn in Parliament

UK Conservative lawmaker resigns after admitting he watched porn in Parliament

LONDON - A British lawmaker from the governing Conservative Party resigned after admitting he watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons chamber.

Neil Parish, a member of Parliament since 2010, announced his decision on Saturday after pressure from members of his own party who tried to defuse sleaze allegations before Britain holds its local elections on May 5.

The election is critical for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is already facing a backlash over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Neil Parish, 65, stepped down after what he described as a moment of madness. Parish, chairman of the House's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said he was trying to look at a tractor website, but stumbled into a porn site with a similar name and watched it for a bit. My biggest crime is that I went in a second time on another occasion, he told the BBC. That was deliberate. Reports that a lawmaker had watched porn in the House of Commons triggered a flood of complaints from women in Parliament about the misogyny and sexual harassment they have faced while doing their jobs.

Parliament is now a more diverse place, with women holding almost 40 percent of the seats in the House of Commons, a place that is known for its boozy, macho culture. Legislatives and staff say harassment and inappropriate behavior are still rampant under a system that allows members to police themselves.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Parish's resignation should be a moment for people across the U.K. to say enough is enough. She said while campaigning in Fife, Scotland, she doesn't believe there could really be any other outcome to what has come to light about this particular MP. It is unacceptable to watch porn on a mobile phone in the House of Commons when you're there representing constituents. Parish dissented from the idea that he meant to intimidate anyone.

He said that for all my rights and wrongs, I was not proud of what I was doing. And the one thing I wasn't doing, and that I will take to my grave as being true, is that I was not making sure people would see it. I was trying to do quite the opposite. The scandal comes at a point in which Johnson will have to resign if the Conservatives don't do well in the local elections.