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
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism