Parliament's penchant for browsing adult websites

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When workers make nearly 300,000 attempts to access porn in the workplace, it's a matter of some concern. When the workplace is Parliament, the entire country has a right to be worried. While matters like the economy and Syria might have been thought to have preoccupied the seat of government, it seems that some government workers were typing in "Big Ben" with very different images in mind.

The Huffington Post gleaned the figures through a Freedom of Information request to Palace of Westminster IT chiefs. The browsing figures are taken from the Parliamentary Network, which is used by MPs and peers, their aides and by civil servants.

Westminster officials suggested that it wasn't as bad as it looked, with the figures exaggerated by pop-ups and web design features and was not a count of the number of times users had browsed for porn. To paraphrase another famous source of Parliamentary titillation, Mandy Rice-Davies, well they would say that, wouldn't they?

A House of Commons spokeswoman said: "We do not consider the data to provide an accurate representation of the number of purposeful requests made by network users due to the variety of ways in which websites can be designed to act, react and interact and due to the potential operation of third party software."

That probably hasn't prevented several MPs rushing to delete the history files on their laptops. It also doesn't explain why there were only 15 such searches in chaste February, but 114,844 in red-hot November. Perhaps Prime Minister David Cameron might like to start his "opt-in" solution to internet porn on his own doorstep.

"We are not going to restrict Parliamentarians' ability to carry out research," the spokeswoman added. Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers' Alliance, told HuffPost: "Many people working in Parliament are spending far too much time on websites that have nothing to do with their job."

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