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A former MP who quit after admitting watching pornography in the Commons said he was thinking of standing again at the next general election.

Neil Parish resigned from his Tiverton and Honiton seat after declaring that he was the politician whom other MPs had spotted watching X-rated material in parliament.

But in a candid interview, Parish said he felt he had “unfinished business” in Westminster and was considering offering to stand as a Conservative party candidate once again.

The former environment, food and rural affairs select committee chair stood down as an MP in April after owning up to viewing adult content while on the green benches. He said he accidentally viewed an explicit video when browsing for tractors, before later doing so deliberately in the chamber.

Parish, asked by Times Radio whether he would consider standing for election again, said: “Yes, at the moment I just don’t want to quite leave it. When you leave so suddenly like I had to, there is so much unfinished business. Therefore, at the moment, I don’t really want to leave it there.”

The constituency formerly held by Parish was snatched by the Liberal Democrats in a June byelection. The party overturned a Conservative majority of more than 24,000 in a 38-point vote swing.

However, the seat is likely to be carved up under Boundary Commission proposals due to be finalised later this year, with the new-look seat renamed Tiverton and Minehead.

Parish said that the new seat “comes very close to my farm” and he would “very much consider standing there at the next general election”. The next election has not yet been called, but is due to take place before 2025.

Asked whether he would look to stand as a Tory, Parish said: “I shall offer my services to the party – whether the party will have me or not is another matter.

“But then I have the option of also standing as an independent. There’s a certain draw for me actually to have a shot as an independent. The next general election might be one where people might be looking for something slightly different than all the political parties.”

During the 10-minute interview, Parish admitted to feeling “great regret” at the circumstances of his resignation from parliament.

Calling it a “terrible mistake”, he added: “The shame of it is that you go out basically being seen as a sleazeball. And you can understand why people would think that. So yes, there is shame.

“But once you’ve made a mistake, once you’ve admitted a mistake and once you’ve resigned over it, I think then you do dwell on it for a while, but then, after that, you move on.”


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