Neil Parish: Tiverton MP’s ‘tractors’ website excuse for watching porn in Commons - how have people reacted?

Following Parish's admission, the term "CornHub" began trending on Twitter...

Agriculture, the countryside, and animal welfare issues are all important to the MP who watched pornography in Parliament.

So much so, that Neil Parish stated he was searching about tractors on the internet when he came across a website “with sort of a very similar name”.

Parish has resigned as a member of Parliament after admitting to accessing pornography twice in the House of Commons, first accidently, and subsequently on purpose.

The pressure to retire, according to a local Conservative source, came from Westminster rather than the constituency association.

But what exactly was his excuse, and how has it been received online?

Here is everything you need to know.

What did Parish say?

The backbencher said in an interview with BBC South West that he recognised the “furore” and “damage” he was causing his family and his constituency in Devon before deciding “it just wasn’t worth carrying on”.

“The situation was, funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at, so I did get into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done,” Parish said.

He is the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in the House of Commons. After leaving school at the age of 16, he ran the family farm in Somerset before entering politics.

In 1999, he was elected to the European Parliament to represent the region of the South West of England and Gibraltar.

Parish did not seek re-election in 2009 since he had already been chosen as the Conservative candidate for Tiverton and Honiton in the general election of 2010; he defeated the Labour Party by 24,239 votes.

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton (centre) in 2016 (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

“My crime, 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 chamber.”

Parish said it was a “moment of madness”, which he accepted was “totally wrong”, as he insisted he was “not making sure people could see it” and was trying to be discreet.

Which website could he have stumbled upon?

While it’s hard to fully research which tractor-adjacent pornographic website Parish may have come across (at least not without alerting the NationalWorld IT team), plenty of social media users have weighed in with their suggestions.

Some have humourly suggested that perhaps the MP didn’t realise the phrase “ploughing hoes” (as in the gardening tool) could have more than one meaning.

And the term “CornHub” was trending on Twitter in the wake of Parish’s admission...

“Viewing tractors online led to twice watching porn in the chamber of the House of Commons,” said newsreader Kay Burley. “That must have been quite some trailer.”

Parody account @MichaelTakeMP (as in ‘Mickey Take’) said: “My heartgoes out to Neil Parish.

“Many of us in the farming community innocently tap into our phones rural topics of interest such as: Milking, Stallion, Hoes, Waxed Jackets etc.

“We are then greeted with filth aimed at our loins. Neil was ambushed by such filth & has now sadly gone.”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner expressed bafflement at the MP’s excuse, adding: “Neil Parish must think you were all born yesterday. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are a national embarrassment.”

Following Parish’s resignation - the latest in a string of allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct against MPs - Sir Lindsay Hoyle has called for "radical" changes to working standards in the Commons.

“In my opinion, it is time to consider radical action, and review structures and processes that could make a difference” said Sir Lindsay, writing in the Observer.

“Some serious allegations have been made, and we must address them as a matter of urgency.”

How did the story unfurl?

Allegations of a porn-watching MP were first aired in a meeting with Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris on Tuesday 26 April.

Even when asked about the allegations in a broadcast interview, Parish remained silent on the matter until the revelations were set to be made public on Friday (29 April).

The Conservatives then suspended the whip from him, meaning he was out of the parliamentary party.

He referred himself to Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and stated that he would continue to perform his "duties" in the Commons pending the outcome of the investigation.

It's unclear whether that will continue now he has resigned, but former MPs can be investigated by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which investigates allegations of bullying and sexual harassment.