Which Tory MP has been watching porn in the Commons?

Allegation comes amid sexism row over Basic Instinct claims about Angela Rayner

Houses of Parliament
(Image credit: Dave Valler/Getty Images)

The Conservative Party is facing a fresh sexism scandal after a Tory MP was accused of repeatedly watching porn on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.

The Mirror’s political editor Pippa Crerar reported that the porn allegations were revealed at a “highly charged” meeting of backbenchers at Westminster on Tuesday night, at which “around a dozen” female MPs “shared accounts of alleged sexism and harassment by their colleagues”.

The party’s chief whip, Chris Heaton-Harris, has asked the witnesses to refer the allegations to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) and said he would take “appropriate action” once any investigation had concluded.

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What Crerar described as the “new Tory sexism storm” follows reports that 56 MPs are facing allegations of sexual misconduct. And claims that Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner used a Basic Instinct-style ploy to distract Boris Johnson in Parliament have sparked further anger.

Culprit identified

The porn-watching allegations were reportedly made by a female junior minister and a senior female MP. The Times’ political editor Steven Swinford tweeted that the “two female MPs described different occasions” on which they had spotted a male colleague looking at porn on his phone.

“When they compared notes and spoke to chief whip after they realised it was same individual,” Swinford added.

The Sun said it was “understood that the culprit has been identified”, but that party bosses have “refused to name and shame” him.

The row triggered “fevered speculation” in Westminster on Wednesday, with “several names circulated” and “conflicting information about whether this had been a frontbencher”, said The Guardian.

The Times’ Swinford said that he had been “told categorically” that the culprit was not a minister.

Nicky Morgan, the Conservatives’ former minister for women and equalities, described the allegations as a “jaw-dropper”. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that one of the witnesses “felt that she was deliberately made to feel uncomfortable”.

Asked if she knew who the culprit was, Morgan said his identity was not “widely known”. She added: “I have heard a name suggested but I have absolutely no idea if it is that person or not and it is not fair to speculate.”

The next move

If the allegations were found to be true, the MP in question could be investigated for a possible breach of the MPs’ Code of Conduct, which states that “members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament and never undertake any action which would bring the House of Commons, or its members generally, into disrepute”.

During PMQs yesterday, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas asked Boris Johnson whether he considered sexual harassment to be “grounds for dismissal”.

The prime minister replied that “of course” it was, adding that “sexual harassment is intolerable”.

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