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"(It was) a moment of madness and also totally wrong... I'm not going to defend it."

The 65-year-old, who has been an MP since 2010, had already been suspended from the Conservatives and faced at least two parliamentary probes after he was publicly outed Friday in the scandal.

His public identification ended days of speculation after it emerged at least two other lawmakers had complained that an MP had been seen watching porn in the Commons, amid broader accusations of a misogynistic environment in Britain's parliament.

Parish's decision to resign triggers a by-election in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency in Devon where he won a majority of more than 24,000 in 2019, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson swept to a landslide victory.

The seat has returned Conservative MPs ever since its creation in 1997, while Tories have represented the area for the past century.

However, Johnson and his party have faced a string of scandals since last summer that have dented their standing. A by-election in the historically safe seat of North Shropshire last December saw the Tories lose there for the first time.

'National embarrassment'

The party is also facing another tough by-election in Wakefield, in northern England, after another Conservative MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, quit parliament this month following his conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Meanwhile, voters go to the polls across Britain on Thursday, in local elections that the Tories are predicted to struggle in and could further pressure the embattled Johnson.

Parish, a farmer who has chaired a watchdog committee focused on the environment and rural affairs, said in the interview that he first watched porn in parliament after straying from a tractor website to an adult content site with a similar name.

"My 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 (Commons) chamber," he explained.

The MP added that, contrary to reports, he had not sought for his actions to be visible to colleagues.

"I will take to my grave as being true... I was not actually making sure people could see it. In fact, I was trying to do quite the opposite."

The scandal comes days after it was revealed that at least 56 MPs, including three ministers, are currently being probed over allegations of sexual misconduct by parliament's own complaints office.

Meanwhile the Conservative party has been accused of misogyny after the Mail on Sunday newspaper last week quoted unnamed Tory MPs accusing the deputy leader of the opposition Labour party, Angela Rayner, of trying to distract Prime Minister Boris Johnson with her legs.

Rayner was among the first to publicly react to the news of Parish's resignation, calling the Conservatives under Johnson a "national embarrassment".

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