“Neil Parish’s was a sad apology – but we all run the risk of an X-rated ambush” – Darren Lewis

Darren Lewis says the Tory MP showed shocking arrogance before stepping down but says it’s all too easy to stumble across pornography and more needs to be done to protect children

Disgraced former MP Neil Parish
Disgraced former MP Neil Parish

So Tory MP Neil Parish was looking at a tractor called the Dominator when he “accidentally” stumbled across pornography
in parliament.

No, me neither.

At first it seemed like another excerpt from the Conservatives’ compendium of false excuses. Right up there with Dominic Cummings driving to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight (maybe he should have checked out tractors too) or Boris Johnson being “cake-ambushed”.

The point is that Parish and his pornographic apology prompted hilarity and then legitimate concern about a misogynistic culture in Westminster before he finally resigned over the weekend.

But despite his arrogance and selflessness – he conducted an interview in his dressing gown and initially claimed he would only decide his future after an investigation – there is reason to sympathize with him.

It’s a microcosm of the larger problem parents are well aware of: the ambush marketing that captures the interest of our children and grandchildren before they are lured into the kind of adult material they should be protected from.

As parents, we’ve had to learn the hard way of installing controls on our broadband to filter out content that’s all too easily accessed online. Search for one thing and, often unknowingly, open a gateway to another. Click the wrong place on a particular page, or misspell a search term, and you’re back at it.

You can find links directing audiences to pornographic websites on YouTube and in comments on shopping websites. Some falsely promise free online currency for games.

Others pose as popular influencers. To be fair, YouTube works hard to remove links where possible. But the lawlessness of the internet means the ambush can come from anywhere, especially for the elderly who aren’t tech savvy.

As the distinguished professor Mary Beard, 67, tweeted on Monday: “This is not intended as an endorsement of Mr Parish but I ended up on a porn site after searching for Titian’s Caesar portraits. A shock and I left immediately.”

None of this exonerates 65-year-old Parish, an elected official who watches pornography taxpayer time.

He got sucked in and admits to checking back – just what these sites want you to do.

Doing it in the privacy of your own home is one thing. When it comes to working with colleagues, it’s quite different. He should have resigned that day.

However, X-rated ambush marketing will stay with us long after we forget it. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/neil-parishs-sorry-excuse-were-26851557 "Neil Parish's was a sad apology - but we all run the risk of an X-rated ambush" - Darren Lewis

Fry Electronics Team

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