SOME Tory MPs are blaming women within the party for a disastrous by-election defeat in Tiverton and Honiton – with one MP saying those who spoke up about an MP watching porn in the House of Commons should “feel like a turd in the swimming pool”.
The by-election was triggered when local MP Neil Parish resigned after admitting to watching pornography in Parliament.
The Tory announced he would quit as MP for the Devon constituency after saying that he had twice watched pornography in the Commons chamber.
He said that the first time was an accident, claiming he had been looking for photographs of tractors, but admitted the second occasion was intentional.
In the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, the LibDems overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win.
As the Conservative Party deals with the fall-out of the defeat, along with another by-election loss in Wakefield, some MPs are playing the blame game.
The i reported that a number of Tories feel Parish should have stuck it out rather than resigning and blame the women who spoke up on the fact that they had witnessed an MP watching porn.
One MP told the title: “Parish shouldn’t have resigned. He should have just gone away with his wife for a few weeks and then come back to the job. I don’t know why the girls had to speak out like that.”
Another said the women who reported the porn-watching should “feel like a turd in the swimming pool”.
Parish owned up to the porn-watching after newspapers reported on a meeting where a number of female Tory politicians – including former prime minister Theresa May – were discussing misogyny in parliament.
Those attending heard from one female minister who said she caught a colleague sitting beside her watching explicit movies on his phone.
One MP told The Mirror: “It was like a blood-letting. Everybody was sharing awful stories of what had happened to them in the Commons at the hands of male MPs.
“[The chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris] clearly hadn’t been expecting it and looked knocked for six. But the big question is what happens next.”
An insider at the meeting told The Sun: “A total can of worms was unleashed at the meeting.
“Around 14 MPs got up one after the other to describe their experiences – it was shocking.
“One MP was left in tears.
“They wanted the Chief Whip to find the man and kick him out of the party.”