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Hull MP confronts Cameron on internet child porn pledge


Hull North MP Diana Johnson today asked the Prime Minister why his pledge to outlaw internet rape porn has been excluded from proposed Government legislation.


On 22 July 2013, David Cameron made a speech in which he promised:


“We’re going to do something else to make sure that the same rules apply online as they do offline. There are examples of extreme pornography that are so bad you can’t even buy this material in a licensed sex shop, and today I can announce we’ll be legislating so that videos streamed online in the UK are subject to the same rules as those sold in shops. Put simply: what you can’t get in a shop, you shouldn’t be able to get online.”


The resulting Government Bill that covers this policy area is Clause 16 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is currently going through its Parliamentary stages.


Currently this Clause would only ban online rape porn that is “explicit and realistic”, and not porn that includes gratuitous violence, but not actual sex; or porn where the rape is not ‘realistic’ because it is badly acted or has ‘high production values’; or porn where the actress is clearly intended to look like a child.


This falls short of, in the Prime Minister’s own words: “legislating so that videos streamed online in the UK are subject to the same rules as those sold in shops”.


Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Diana Johnson MP asked the Prime Minister: “Last July, the Prime Minister rightly promised legislation banning internet rape porn.
 
“So, can he explain to parents why Clause 16 of his Criminal Justice and Courts Bill doesn’t ban simulated child abuse or staged rape online?”


Speaking after the exchange in the Commons, Diana Johnson MP added: “We’ve got to put the rights of children and other vulnerable people above the interests of paedophiles and all those who would harm children.


“Despite the Prime Minister’s promise to outlaw online simulated rape and child abuse, and to bring the internet into line with the law governing other forms of publication, such as DVDs bought in shops, the Coalition’s proposed legislation fails to keep this promise.


“Millions of parents will now want to hear what the Government is doing to ensure the legislation reflects the promises that the Prime Minister has made.”


Diana Johnson's joint article, with Helen Jones MP and Dan Jarvis MP, on regulating extreme online porn can be read at http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/03/17/comment-we-need-to-talk-about-porn.

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