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Will porngate Parish return to parliament?

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

There’s a spectre haunting Westminster: the spectre of Neil Parish. The former Tiverton MP spent twelve years in parliament in happy backbench obscurity. Until, that is, he became the new poster boy of Tory sleaze last April when he admitted watching pornography twice in the Palace of Westminster.

Parish first tried to brazen it out, telling GB News that the MP ‘should be dealt with and dealt with seriously’ before his identity was known. He then suggested he was merely trying to look at pictures of tractors online. After that failed, Parish resigned as an MP, turning Tiverton’s 24,000 Conservative majority into a Lib Dem majority of 6,000 on a 38-point swing. It was one of two by-election defeats for Boris Johnson that ultimately led to the Prime Minister’s downfall.

Now Parish – a one man walking cure for imposter syndrome – has decided that he has more to give to public life. He is generously offering his services for the Conservative party again, regardless of whether, er, anyone wants them. Parish, who has now set himself up as a kind of roving pundit, popped up on Times Radio yesterday to muse on his own political future.

Asked if he would consider standing for election again, the sage of Tiverton intoned: ‘Yes, at the moment I just don’t want to quite leave it. When you leave so suddenly like I had to, there is so much unfinished business. Therefore, at the moment, I don’t really want to leave it there.’ He added that ‘I shall offer my services to the party – whether the party will have me or not is another matter.’ That’s putting it mildly.

His former seat is likely to be carved up under Boundary Commission proposals due to be finalised later this year, with the new-look seat renamed Tiverton and Minehead.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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