UK public believe shamed MP Neil Parishs porn watching should be criminal offence – POLL

Techne’s Michela Morizzo explains findings of exclusive polling

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The poll, conducted for Express.co.uk by Techne UK, found that 78 percent of people think watching porn in all public spaces, including the workplace, should be illegal. A further 15 percent thought that watching porn should be illegal only in the workplace. Meanwhile, 3 percent thought it should always be a criminal offence, even in private.

Just 2 percent of those polled thought it should never be a criminal offence.

Techne UK spoke to 1624 adults between May 4 and May 5.

This comes after Mr Parish, outgoing Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, announced his resignation, admitting to twice watchng pornography in the House of Commons.

He said that the first instance was accidental, after using his phone to look at tractors online, while the second was a “moment of madness”.

Mr Parish said: “I was wrong, I was stupid, I lost sense of mind.”

The 65-year-old said that he would be leaving his post after recognising the “furore” and “damage” he was inflicting on his constituency and his family.

The Labour Party have claimed that what Mr Parish did is already a criminal offence under the Indecent Displays (Control) Act of 1981.

The act states: “If any indecent matter is publicly displayed the person making the display and any person causing or permitting the display to be made shall be guilty of an offence.”

It adds: “Any matter which is displayed in or so as to be visible from any public place shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to be publicly displayed.”

Individuals found in breach of the law can be sentenced to up to two years in prison.

Speaking to the Observer, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic abuse and safeguarding, Jess Philips, said: “If this law was to be applied it appears he has committed an offence by his own admission.”

Ms Philips confirmed that Labour would call for a full review into the law’s application, also calling for a public information campaign to tell people that watching porn where others could see it is illegal.

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She said: “There are plenty of laws on the statute books that are meant to protect women and girls in society, however they are not enacted. They are very rarely enacted appropriately.

“People don’t know they can complain about it.

“What we will do now is look into where charging has and hasn’t happened [under this law], such as on transport networks where people watch it on the bus next to you.”

The Treasury confirmed that Mr Parish has been appointed to be Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, a mechanism which allows MPs to resign from office.

His resignation will trigger a by-election in the Devon constituency.

Mr Parish won a majority of more than 24,000 in the 2019 election.

His resignation comes less than a month after Imran Ahmad Khan resigned as MP for Wakefield after being convicted of assaulting a 15-year-old male.

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