UK & World News

  • 4 March 2014, 13:06

No 10 Aide Quits Over Abuse Images Claims

A government aide has been arrested over child abuse imagery allegations.

Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13 - hours after Downing Street reported the matter to police.

The 62-year-old, who was the deputy head of Downing Street's policy unit and a key aide of David Cameron's, had resigned the previous day.

Mr Rock, who is not married and is from west London, was one of a number of advisers and officials involved in drawing up the Government's policy on internet porn filters.

The search engine companies Google and Microsoft agreed last year to introduce changes to make it harder to find child abuse images online.

A spokesperson for Number 10 said: "Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into Number 10 have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

"This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law."

The spokesperson stressed the work was "led by somebody else, and decisions were taken by ministers".

According to the Daily Mail, which broke the news of the arrest, Mr Rock had particular responsibility for home affairs issues in the policy unit.

Mr Cameron brought Mr Rock back into Downing Street in 2011 after working with him at the Home Office under Michael Howard in the 1990s.

He was a protege of Margaret Thatcher and is credited with coining the phrase "cows moo, dogs bark. Labour puts up taxes".

Mr Rock stood for MPin 1984 for the Tory safeseat of Portsmouth South but after a disastrous by-election campaign he suffered a crashing defeat losing out to the then Liberal SDP Alliance candidate, Mike Hancock.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.