Exclusive: Tories Create 'Support Group' In Wake Of Porn MP Scandal

"It has become apparent we need to do more to improve the culture we work in," the chief whip said.
Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris has asked Amanda Milling to set up a "support group"
Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris has asked Amanda Milling to set up a "support group"
Getty

A “support group” is being set up for Tory MPs after one of their colleagues quit after he was caught watching porn in the Commons.

The party’s chief whip has written to Conservative MPs offering them help following on from “serious issues” raised in parliament.

In an email, seen by HuffPost UK, Chris Heaton-Harris said they needed to do more to “improve the culture” at Westminster.

It comes after a number of female Tory MPs raised serious concerns about misogyny and sexism within their own party.

Heaton-Harris said he had asked MPs Amanda Solloway and Rebecca Harris to look at how they can “better respond to any welfare issues”.

He also revealed that foreign office minister Amanda Milling has been asked to set up a “support group” for colleagues.

The group will be made up of a “cross-section of colleagues” dedicated to providing support and guidance on a range of matters, he said.

Neil Parish resigned after admitting watching porn in the Commons.
Neil Parish resigned after admitting watching porn in the Commons.
Matt Cardy via Getty Images

The intervention comes just days after Tory Neil Parish resigned as an MP after admitting he watched pornography twice in the Commons.

Two female colleagues claimed they had seen him looking at adult content on his phone while sitting near them.

The concerns were raised during a heated meeting in which a string of female MPs complained to the whips about sexism and misogyny within the party.

The scandal prompted senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes to say her party was institutionally sexist and that there was a culture of “male entitlement”

Heaton-Harris said the Conservatives had “some of the best and most dedicated” MPs, but added: “It has become apparent we need to do more to improve the culture we work in and ensure parliament is a welcome place for everyone.”

The chief whip went on to encourage MPs to “reach out” and said if anyone raised concerns they would remain “private and confidential”.

“Following on from serious issues that have been raised in Parliament I wanted to set out how the whips’ office is here to help and how we can provide support to colleagues.”

- Chris Heaton-Harris

Five years on from the so-called “pestminster” scandal, parliament was once again engulfed in allegations of misogyny, bullying and sleaze.

A senior MP was accused of repeatedly licking the faces of male researchers in parliamentary bars.

It was also alleged that a female Tory MP was sent an explicit photograph, known as a “dick pic”, by a male colleague and another MP has reportedly been repeatedly warned about his use of prostitutes.

The allegations have led to calls for a major overhaul of parliament’s culture.

It led to the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle to call for a review of current working practices.

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