Two MPs 'linked to internet pornography investigation'

Two MPs are facing investigation over paying for child pornography from the same illegal internet site used by the rock star Pete Townshend, according to police sources.

The names of the MPs and a number of other well-known people are understood to be on the list of about 6,000 British men who are suspected of having subscribed about two years ago to an American pay-as-you-view pornography site. The inquiry, known as Operation Ore, began after the US Postal Service uncovered the website, which was being operated from Texas.

Scotland Yard is thought to be making strenuous checks on the details given of the politicians to make sure that their credit cards had not been stolen or cloned.

So far more than 1,300 people, including at least 50 police officers, have been arrested as part of the biggest paedophile investigation carried out in Britain. A police source said: "Most of the people using the porn site more than two years ago were middle-class, well-to-do people."

Mr Townshend, 57, the songwriter and guitarist with the Who, admitted on Saturday that he had once used his credit card to pay to look at child pornography on the internet. But he insisted he was not a paedophile and had only viewed the abusive material to help him with research for his autobiography, which includes passages about him being sexually abused as a child.

He is to be questioned by Scotland Yard detectives, who will also want to examine his computers to determine whether he has accessed other paedophile material.

Mr Townshend said he paid to look at the child pornography on just one occasion. This has been confirmed by a police source. The musician was discovered to have accessed the site about two years ago.

Campaigners against internet child pornography described his explanation as "no excuse". Mark Stephens, vice-chairman of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: "There are many high-profile individuals who fight against child pornography. But it is wrong-headed, misguided and illegal to look at or download or even to pay to download paedophiliac material, and if you do so you are likely to go to prison.

"Pete Townshend has admitted a criminal offence and this goes to mitigation and it's a matter for a court to accept if he was merely doing research or something worse."

Of the police officers arrested as part of Operation Ore, eight have been charged, including Detective Constable Brian Stevens, 41, one of the family liaison officers in the Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman murder inquiry in Soham. He has been charged with making indecent images of children and indecently assaulting two girls.

The subscribers to the pay-to-view site were traced through their credit card, e-mail and personal details, given from May 1999 to the summer of 2001 to the Texan couple who ran the website.

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices