UK Conservative lawmaker suspended over porn-watching claim

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LONDON (AP) — A lawmaker from Britain’s governing Conservative Party has been suspended after colleagues alleged he watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons chamber.

The party’s whips — officials responsible for enforcing discipline — said Friday that Neil Parish was suspended from the Conservative group in Parliament while the House of Commons Standards Committee investigates. He will remain a lawmaker but sit as an independent.

Parish, 65, has represented a district in southwest England in the lower chamber of Parliament since 2010 and heads the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

The allegations against him are the latest sexual misconduct claims in British politics. Long known for its boozy, macho atmosphere, Parliament is now a more diverse place, but lawmakers and staff say bullying, harassment and inappropriate behavior still are rife under a system that largely allows legislators to regulate themselves.

Earlier this week, female lawmakers reacted with outrage after a newspaper quoted an unnamed Conservative legislator who accused Labour Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner of trying to “distract” the prime minister during debates by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

In addition to Paris, three other Conservative members of Parliament are currently suspended by the party over sexual misconduct claims.

The allegations of sexism and misbehavior involving Conservatives are further trouble for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose job is on the line after he was fined by police for attending a party in 2020 that broke government-imposed coronavirus lockdown rules.

Local elections across the U.K. on Thursday will give voters a chance to show their feelings about the governing party.

The Associated Press

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