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Neil Parish complains of ‘double standards’ in Pincher controversy

Neil Parish said that the Conservative Party could not show double standards (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)
Neil Parish said that the Conservative Party could not show double standards (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

Neil Parish has said the Conservatives cannot show “double standards” and must remove the whip from former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

The former Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, who formally resigned in May after admitting he had watched pornography twice on his phone in Parliament, suggested that he believes the party whip could be withdrawn from Mr Pincher before the end of Saturday.

Mr Pincher dramatically quit as deputy chief whip on Thursday after a drunken incident in which he allegedly groped two male guests at a London private members’ club.

The Prime Minister was under pressure to go further and suspend him from the Tory Party, while opposition parties said his position as an MP was untenable.

Mr Parish, whose actions re-ignited questions over sleaze in Westminster, was adamant the whip should be withdrawn from his former parliamentary colleague.

“The first thing they did to me, and I made a huge mistake, is that they withdrew the whip. There cannot be double standards.

“My belief is that Christopher Pincher has things to be answered for, the whip must be withdrawn and he has the opportunity then to go before the parliamentary standards board to see what his conduct actually was – those that were affected can also give evidence.”

The former MP expressed disbelief that the party whip had not already been withdrawn.

“I can’t believe why they haven’t done it, because that was the first thing they did to me, even though I asked for it to be sorted out privately.

“I just feel it is double standards. But I suspect by this evening or tomorrow the whip will be withdrawn. I can’t believe they can treat us in such different ways.”

Asked by LBC if he saw himself as badly treated by the Conservatives, he said: “I have accepted what happened and I made a big mistake and so up until now, yes I have.

“But I have to say to you on this occasion, then I am very upset,” he continued.

He suggested that he cut an independent path in parliament, meaning that he had little protection from the party when the scandal broke.

The resulting by-election Tiverton and Honiton saw the Liberal Democrats take the seat, overturning a Conservative majority of more than 24,000

“I got myself elected to the [Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] Select Committee chair,” he said.

“I never had preferment. I was always keen to hold ministers to account, which is what you do as a select committee chair.

“And so you weren’t part of the establishment. So when you come to blot your copy book, which I did, I accept that, there was no protection for me and straight over the side of the boat.

“You just think, come on, he may be deputy chief whip, in fact he may have been the man who actually removed the whip from me, so come on, let’s be fair.”