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Conservative MP to resign after admitting to watching porn in UK parliament

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British Conservative MP Neil Parish said he will resign after admitting to twice watching pornography in the House of Commons, saying he first accidentally viewed it after looking at tractors online before then acting deliberately.

The 65-year-old select committee chair, who is a farmer by trade, said the second time was while sitting waiting to vote on the side of the Commons chamber in a “moment of madness”.

Mr Parish said the second time was while he was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the Commons chamber, in a “moment of madness”.

He had vowed to continue as the MP for Tiverton and Honiton after it was revealed he was the politician seen watching porn by two Conservative colleagues, but bowed to pressure to resign on Saturday.

He said in an interview with BBC South West that he recognised the “furore” and “damage” he was causing his family and his constituency in Devon before deciding “it just wasn’t worth carrying on”.

“The situation was, funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at, so I did get into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done,” Mr Parish said.

“My crime, my most biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.

“That was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber.”

Mr Parish said it was a “moment of madness”, which he accepted was “totally wrong”, as he insisted he was “not making sure people could see it” and was trying to be discreet.

“I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it, intimidating women, I mean I have 12 years in Parliament and probably got one of the best reputations ever – or did have.”

When pressed on why he chose to view the material in the Commons, he said: “I don’t know, I think I must’ve taken complete leave of my senses and my sensibilities and my sense of decency, everything.”

‘A national embarrassment’

Deputy labour leader Angela Rayner expressed bafflement at the MP’s excuse, adding: “Neil Parish must think you were all born yesterday. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are a national embarrassment.”

The Tiverton and Honiton Conservative Association thanked Mr Parish for his “service to our communities” since becoming MP in 2010, adding: “We support his decision to step down as our Member of Parliament.”

His departure of the chairman of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will pave the way for a byelection in the Conservative safe seat, which was won by Mr Parish by more than 14,000 votes over Labour in 2019.

Allegations of a porn-watching MP were first aired in a meeting with Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris on Tuesday.

Mr Parish did not come forward as the culprit, even when asked about the claims in a televised interview, until when the revelations were about to be made public on Friday.

The Conservatives then suspended the whip from him, meaning he was out of the parliamentary party.

He referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone, and said he would continue with his “duties” in the Commons pending the outcome of an investigation.

It was unclear whether that will still go ahead after he resigns.

But the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which looks into claims of bullying and sexual harassment, can investigate former MPs.

It was understood the body had begun examining events after at least one witness made a referral.

A local Conservative source said the pressure to resign was coming from Westminster, rather than the constituency association.

Senior Conservative Karen Bradley had urged Mr Parish to stay away from Parliament, while Harriet Harman, the longest-standing female MP, called for his immediate resignation.

But he insisted to reporters at his Somerset farmhouse on Friday that he would be carrying on while under investigation, suggesting that he had watched the porn accidentally.

However, it was hard to tally that explanation with suggestions that a Conservative minister also witnessed him watching porn on a second occasion, in a committee meeting.

On Saturday morning, safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean said of his decision not to immediately stand down: “I genuinely think that’s a matter for him.”

But, speaking to Times Radio, she added: “I want to be clear, he is not continuing his business as normal, he’s under investigation, and I’m confident that the appropriate measures will be put in place to safeguard any of his constituents, particularly women and girls.”

Senior Conservative Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Women and Equalities Committee, accused the Conservative whips of “dither and delay” over suspending Mr Parish.

Labour’s shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said Mr Parish was right to resign over his “disgusting behaviour”.

“But it’s shocking that the Conservatives have allowed this debacle to drag out over many days,” she added.

“Time and again the Tories refuse to act, resorting to cover ups and dragging the reputation of other MPs and the House down with them.”

Liberal Democrat activists relished the opportunity of a byelection, noting their success in taking rural seats off the Conservatives.

Daisy Cooper, the party’s deputy leader, demanded the Conservatives call the vote “swiftly”. – PA

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Rishi Sunak’s swimming pool complex at his manor house is pictured as he tries to become the next PM

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Rishi Sunak‘s lavish private swimming pool complex at his North Yorkshire manor house has been pictured as he continues to battle Liz Truss to become the next Prime Minister.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who like Ms Truss is facing questions over how they will deal with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy prices, has spent £400,000 on the new pool.

He is also building a gym and tennis courts at the £2million Georgian manor near Northallerton, with reports from earlier this year estimating he would have to pay £13,000-a-year to keep the new pool warm. 

However, this figure may have risen dramatically over the last few months as energy prices have continued to surge, putting millions of people in the UK at risk of not being able to pay their bills.

Yesterday Mr Sunak, who has been criticised for building the pool while his local swimming baths in Richmond are forced to close due to rising energy bills, pledged to spend billions more to help people with the cost-of-living crisis.

The former investment banker, who made a fortune before becoming a politician, said there was a ‘moral responsibility’ to offer extra help, while also taking a swipe at Ms Truss’s plans to cut taxes.

He pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills – which he said could raise total support for families to around £700 to £800 – while energy bills look set to reach an eyewatering £4,400 after Christmas.

A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak's North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction

A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction

The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property

The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property

It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John's Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister

It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John’s Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister

The swimming pool at his Grade-II listed manor house, where he typically spends his weekends with his wife and two daughters, has been under construction for several months.

The 42-year-old applied to the local council to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year.

These plans, which included a 12-metre by five-metre swimming pool, were later approved by the council.

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby. 

Reports it would cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills.

The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year

The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year

It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool

It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year

Retired steel worker Leslie Porter, 69, told the Mirror: ‘Some people are having to choose between heating and eating. Bills are all rising and he does this. It’s obscene.’

Receptionist Hayley Hadden added: ‘He is a millionaire many times over and it looks like he is rubbing our noses in it. He doesn’t have to worry about paying his bills.’

It is one of a number of properties owned by Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy, who is the daughter of one of the richest men in India.

While he was chancellor the family lived in a flat above No 10 Downing Street, but earlier this year they moved to their £6.6 million mews house in Kensington.

The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room

The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room

Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills

Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills

Work has  started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak's North Yorkshire manor earlier this year

Work has  started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor earlier this year

They also own a £5.5 million home in Santa Monica in California, where Mr Sunak has been tipped to live if he decides to quit politics in the UK.

Mr Sunak, who worked as an investment banker for firms California, India and Britain, including Goldman Sachs, is known to use the Yorkshire property when Parliament is not in session and he doesn’t need to be in London.

As his battle to become the next Prime Minister with Ms Truss heats up, this week the pair exchanged a series of barbs over their approach to the cost-of-living crisis.

The ex-chancellor has been accused by his rival’s camp of ‘Gordon Brown-style politics’ with a ‘socialist tax and spend’ agenda.

In a swipe back at the Foreign Secretary tonight, Mr Sunak suggested Ms Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’.

Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis

Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis

He also insisted that ‘starry-eyed boosterism’ would not steer the country through the inflation crisis.

In another jibe at Ms Truss, Mr Sunak claimed he would ‘rather lose’ the contest to become PM than promise ‘false things I can’t deliver’.

Both he and Ms Truss have faced calls to pledge further support during the cost-of-living crisis after energy bills for typical households were this week forecast to soar to more than £4,200 next year.

‘I do feel a moral responsibility as prime minister to go further and get extra help to people over the autumn and the winter to help them cope with what is going to be a really difficult time,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘I think that is the right priority.’

Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss's tax-cutting proposals were not 'the moral thing to do' as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary

Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’ as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary

The Foreign Secretary has faced pressure to match Mr Sunak’s promise of more direct support for families, after she previously steered away from pledging extra ‘handouts’ to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Sunak’s camp have accused Ms Truss of a ‘major U-turn’ after she today insisted she was not ruling out further cash payments.

But the Foreign Secretary has maintained that tax cuts – and boosting the economy – are her ‘priority’.

Ms Truss’s promise to cancel the National Insurance rise, scrap a planned increase in corporation tax, and remove green levies on energy bills appears to be proving popular with Tory members.

Mr Sunak has warned that Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans will worsen the inflation crisis and cause interest rates to rocket.

He insisted he was ‘prepared to lose this contest’ rather than ‘saying the easy things’ and not staying ‘true to my values’.

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Window shopping: Stained glass or acoustic? Solid wood or plastic?

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Your front door isn’t there to keep people out, it’s there to welcome them in.

Along with the windows — those peep-holes into your life — the style and colour tell friends and strangers alike who you are and what they can expect when they set foot inside your home.

‘Windows can make or break a space,’ says luxury interior designer Katharine Pooley. ‘They often don’t quite receive the attention they should, which is a shame as with the right ironmongery and a beautiful finish they instantly upgrade the overall aesthetic.’

Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside

Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside

And yet we spend twice as long selecting a kitchen worktop than we do choosing windows for our house.

So what options do you have to make them pretty as well as practical?

Plastic fantastic?

First off, don’t go for those horrid brilliant white, smooth plastic frames for windows. They often look ugly.

If you have to get uPVC because you’re on a tight budget, then at least get them in off-white with a woodgrain effect — some brands are pretty convincing nowadays.

KJM does a good line — for a double-glazed casement in woodgrain-effect measuring 1,200mm x 630mm, the price is about £275 supply-only.

Heavy metal

The sleek, hip-kid-on-the-block, aluminium-framed windows look up-to-the minute.

And because metal is stronger than wood or uPVC, the frame will be much slimmer, so there’s a larger area for glass.

We’re used to a cool grey colour, but you can have the frames made in any hue you like. So you can have them in forest green, midnight blue or flame red.

The same windows as above in aluminium would be £515.

Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular

Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular

Picture windows

Oh, the fun you can have with stained glass. Coloured designs are usually banished to little fan-lights at the top of doors in late Victorian houses.

But why not have coloured or picture panels in your front windows. You can have a nautical theme if you live by the sea; or an abstract whirl of shapes and colours.

A window with a bespoke design from Cheam Leaded Lights of about 1,200mm x 630mm will cost in the region of £2,500 to £3,000 supply-only.

Modernist style

Crittall windows or doors feature a sharp Art Deco design with slim black steel frames divided into squares. 

They have had a style renaissance over the past few years, somehow looking both up-to-date and classic at the same time.

While the Crittall company still manufactures the official items, you can get them in the same style from a host of other firms.

Crittall’s windows range from £500 to £850 per square metre, including installation.

Upgrade your glass

You can get all sorts of special glass these days. If you live by a busy road, acoustic glass will do better for you than standard double glazing.

Double glazing has two panes of glass with a void between them, whereas acoustic glass has two panes sandwiched together with a thin plastic layer in the middle to filter out more sound waves. 

Polarised glass keeps out the sun’s rays on hot days. And reflective glass turns windows into a one-way mirror so you can look out but passers-by can’t look in. 

Roseview’s Ultimate Rose windows are made from uPVC, but almost indistinguishable from wood.

A 1,200mm x 630mm acoustic glass window costs about £900 supply-only.

Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts

Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts

Solid wood

Wooden windows are becoming harder to find as vinyl and fibreglass take over, but they’re durable and can be a charming addition to a home.

Wooden Windows make bespoke timber windows and doors. It’s worth matching the two; after all, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a solid wood front door thudding into place.

It says that your castle is now secure against all onslaught. They do take some maintaining, though — you will have to repaint every four or five years, and there’s the chance of warping, which could make it more difficult to close or lock.

Old English Doors do a good line in hand-made Georgian-style, six-panelled solid oak doors from £4,320 supply-only.

Savings of the week! Rugs 

Temperatures may still be soaring. But the predicted higher fuel bills in the autumn means finding ways to make your home more cosy should start now.

A rug pulls all the elements in a room together. It also provides a layer of insulation, trapping cold air underneath.

Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)

Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)

Some heartwarming bargains of as much as 50 per cent off are available which, with care, should keep you snug for years. 

The abstract pattern Kista from West Elm in pale grey, blue and yellow would suit a stripped-down decor. It now costs from £112.95 to £519.95 (depending on size) down from £449 to £1,039 (westelm.com). 

The Pollo from The Rug Shop UK is in the same style. It costs from £71 to £224, reduced from £79 to £249 (therug shopuk.co.uk). At Loaf, the Tufty in cream and white is down 50 per cent from £345 to £175 (loaf.com).

The Habitat Byron in dark and pale grey, orange and teal would add zing to neutral interiors; it’s down by one-third to £119.99 (argos.co.uk).

Faded antique-style rugs continue to be fashionable. La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25 per cent; from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk).

Anne Ashworth

 

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Liverpool ONE welcomes Tessuti (GB)

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Grosvenor has announced that designer retailer, Tessuti, has opened its new global flagship store at Liverpool ONE, demonstrating the brand’s ongoing vote of confidence in the destination. The new location on Paradise Street follows Tessuti’s consistently strong performance at Liverpool ONE and spans two floors measuring 22,000ft². Boasting Tessuti’s biggest store to date, this is four times the size of the previous Liverpool ONE site. The store interiors have been styled with a subtle nod to classic Italian architecture whilst incorporating state-of-the-art technical features, combining classic design with an industrial-chic colour palette and cutting-edge digital screens. Working with local Liverpudlian digital and production agency Liquid, the new Tessuti store has exclusive instore stills and videos showcasing exciting campaigns; the first of which is rumoured to feature Liverpool stars Stephen Graham, Abbey Clancy, Miles Kane and Chelcee Grimes.

 

Aligning with Liverpool ONE’s community ethos, Tessuti’s new global flagship will also support the vibrant community in the heart of Liverpool, championing local businesses through collaborations, pop-ups, and in-store events.

 

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor, commented: “Tessuti’s commitment to Liverpool ONE, through its relocation within the destination and decision to make the new store its global flagship, strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. The impressive growth trajectory of Tessuti within Liverpool is a great indication of the potential for success and expansion of other brands that join Liverpool ONE.”

 

Chris Rowan, Director of Brand & Customer Connection at Tessuti, added: “The opening of our global flagship at Liverpool ONE is a huge moment for us. Liverpool is an urban hub for international fashion retailers, so upsizing and relocating within the city’s leading retail and leisure destination was a natural next step. We feel confident that it is the ideal home for our flagship location, and are excited to offer Liverpool ONE’s visitors our most stylish project yet.”

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