Conservatives in rift over call for female candidate to replace Neil Parish as MP after porn scandal

Boris Johnson is facing calls from his party to ensure a female candidate is selected to fight the East Devon by-election that has been triggered by Neil Parish's resignation

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A Government minister says calls for an "all-women" shortlist to find a replacement for disgraced MP Neil Parish are "demeaning".

Caroline Nokes called for the party to show 'real evidence of change.'
Caroline Nokes called for the party to show 'real evidence of change.'

Boris Johnson is facing calls from his party to ensure a female candidate is selected to fight the East Devon by-election that has been triggered by Parish's resignation.

Neil Parish stepped down from the role after being caught watching pornography in the House of Commons.

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes called on the party to show "real evidence of change" by selecting a female candidate.

Neil Parish stepped down from his MP role after being spotted watching porn in Parliament.
Neil Parish stepped down from his MP role after being spotted watching porn in Parliament.

Ms Donelan however, says it would be better to encourage female candidates to get into Parliament "on merit".

She told Sky News: "We don’t do it by putting in quotas which I find quite demeaning to women. Women can get there on merit.

"We have seen that in the past in my own party - the first two female prime ministers when Labour haven’t even come close.

"We have got the home secretary who is a female, we have got the foreign secretary who is a female: those individuals got there on merit".

Conservative MP Oliver Dowden says he is hopeful that half of all Conservative MPs will be a woman.

Speaking to GB News about the porn scandal days prior to his name being revealed as the perpetrator, Neil Parish said: "I think the whip’s office will do a very thorough investigation and we will wait and see that result and I think from that the decision will have to be made what action to be taken".

Discussing the issue of a cultural issue in Parliament, Parish said: "I think you’ve got sort of 650 members of parliament in what is a very intense area you are going to get people that step over the line.

“Is it… I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture here but it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously and I think that’s what the whips will do in our whips office".