Thousands of bids to access porn in Parliament

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There have been more than 24,000 attempts to access pornographic websites in Parliament since the general election, new figures show.

A total of 24,473 attempts to access such material from computers and other devices connected to the parliamentary network were made between June and October 2017 – around 160 a day on average.

The network is used by MPs, peers and staff.

It comes amid a sex scandal engulfing Westminster, which has seen Prime Minister Theresa May sack her de facto deputy Damian Green after an investigation found he made “misleading” statements about his knowledge of claims police found pornography on computers in his Commons office in 2008.

Mr Green continues to deny “unfounded and deeply hurtful” claims he downloaded or watched the material and the Cabinet Office probe into the affair reached “no conclusion” on those points.

The figures have emerged following a freedom of information request by the Press Association.

A spike in attempts to visit such sites was recorded in September, with 9,467 requests from both the Lords and Commons in that month.

Despite the high numbers, parliamentary authorities say the majority of the attempts are not deliberate.

The figure for the majority of 2017 is also a marked decrease on recent years.

Damian Green as he refused to answer questions

Image: Damian Green was sacked after an inquiry found he had breached the ministerial code

There were 113,208 attempts blocked by parliament’s filtering system in 2016, down from 213,020 in 2015.

Parliamentary authorities said they were unable to provide figures for January and February 2017 because of changes in technology and the way the data is held.

The available data showed 30,876 attempts to access pornographic material from March to October 2017.

During this time, Parliament was dissolved from the end of April to early June before the snap election and MPs were away for the summer recess from the end of July to early September.

A Parliamentary spokesman said: “All pornographic websites are blocked by Parliament’s computer network.

“The vast majority of ‘attempts’ to access them are not deliberate. The data shows ‘requests’ to access websites, not visits to them.

“There are 8,500 computers on the parliamentary network, which are used by MPs, peers, their staff and staff of both Houses.

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“This data also covers personal devices used when logged on to Parliament’s guest Wi-Fi.”

A separate freedom of information request discovered that there were also at least 2,751,755 attempts to access blocked websites on the parliamentary network from January to October 2017.

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Thousands of bids to access porn in Parliament

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