Disgraced ‘tractor porn MP’ Neil Parish plots political comeback

“Neil, you are no Claire Wright!” – forget it and stick to farming – Owl

Neil Parish is plotting a remarkable political comeback. The disgraced former Tory MP, who quit after being found watching porn in the House of Commons after claiming he was searching for a combine harvester online, is looking for redemption.

David Parsley inews.co.uk 

And he hopes to find that by standing as an independent in the Tiverton and Honiton seat he was forced out of earlier this year.

This would mean overturning the 6,144 majority won in spectacular style by the Liberal Democrats’ Richard Foord, who overturned Parish’s own 24,239 majority in June – the largest ever majority lost in by-election history.

“I’ll run as an independent if I think I can win,” the 66-year-old farmer reveals.

“Am I trying to rehabilitate myself? Well, yes, it is partly that, but it’s also I do have a genuine desire to continue to fight for what I have done throughout my political career.

“I think I can do some good both for people, for food, for farming, for society.”

He rules out running for reselection as a Tory – “once you’re out you’re out” he notes, “I don’t think they would have me.”

If he does run as an independent he may be up against his successor as the Tory candidate – Helen Hurford – who told BBC Radio Devon listeners last week that she will not be a “one-trick pony” and intends to have another shot at the seat next time round.

Having spoken to hundreds of Tory voters during June’s by-election it was clear to me that Mr Parish remained a local favourite.

“He was a silly boy wasn’t he, but it’s not on the same level as what other Tory MPs have been up to,” was the sort of comment many Tories in the constituency would make.

The election is probably two years away, however. So having got over the shock of being ousted after 12 years in Parliament Mr Parish, a farmer and former Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, is about to launch an agricultural podcast.

“When it all happens, you feel as though you have to race around for solutions,” he says of the furore that surrounded his Commons breach. “I’ve stopped racing and I’m taking things more calmly now.

“I think I’ve arrived at a point where I’m accepting of the situation, and I’m moving onto something where I think I can do some good for people.”

So, part one of his redemption will see him launch a new career in broadcasting with a podcast on which he will discuss the issues of interest to him and many of his constituents – farming.

Perhaps the theme tune could be a certain smash hit from West Country legends The Wurzels.

“I’m not sure when it will launch, maybe next month,” says Mr Parish. “It will be looking at the sort of the interests I’ve had in in Parliament in the constituency, which are food, farming, and environmental issues like rewilding.

“I’m developing it as I go along really, but the initial idea is that I will get guests on, experts in each topic we are covering.”

Mr Parish runs his own family farm – hence his interest in the Claas Dominator combine harvester that got him into trouble in the first place – and hopes the podcast will get him back amongst it with his former voters. If that proves successful, then part two of the plan may not appear as ambitious as it first sounds.

Like pretty much everyone else, Mr Parish is convinced Liz Truss will win the keys to No 10, but he, and his wife Sue, voted for her opponent and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak. However, he has not been impressed with how the leadership election has gone down with voters so far.

“It’s been fairly disastrous, to be honest,” he says. “They’ve not really come up with anything terribly dramatic. Nothing to really tackle to cost-of-living crisis. I have some fear and trepidation, to be honest with you, about where it’s all going.

“I just think at this particular moment in time, we’ve got to concentrate on getting people through the energy bill crisis.

“The question for the Conservative Party is will they settle down, under whoever is leader? I’m going to hold fire on that one and give them some time, as I think the country will.”

He does not, however, hold fire on Ms Truss’ tax cutting strategy to ease the economic pain already hitting millions of households across the nation – and show he’s still a politician.

“Tax cuts, in the long run, can stimulate an economy but I think in the short term that they won’t, and they could be inflationary. We’re already talking about 18 per cent inflation, so I just don’t think this is the right time to cut taxes.

“Even Margaret Thatcher, in the first instance didn’t cut taxes. She only did that later, after she’d got inflation under control.”

PS Neil Parish voted alongside Simon Jupp last October to defeat the Lords amendment which would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.