PinkNews Exclusive
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told PinkNews.co.uk that he is alarmed by revelations that internet service providers have been blocking access to non-pornographic LGBT and sexual health websites.

The Liberal Democrat leader warned doing so could prevent young people from getting important information.

“I am concerned about this; I need to look into it, but the purpose of these filters is absolutely not to prevent young people from informing themselves better about the kind of issues that are out there”, he said to PinkNews.co.uk.

Mr Clegg added: “And if that is one of the unintended consequences of the introduction of more and more filters [then] I think we need to work with the industry to make sure, if you like, the parameters of where the filter is set, is adjusted to continually give young people the information that they desperately need.”

Last week, Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron drafted a motion for the party’s spring conference, calling on the government to drop the policy.

“Essential sites on sexual health, gender and sexuality, domestic violence and LGBT rights are being blocked by these filters, whilst pornographic content is still available,” he said. “Our motion is designed to strengthen Lib Dem ministers’ hands in challenging this nonsensical policy, which has yet to be brought before the House of Commons.”

In December, PinkNews revealed that TalkTalk had prevented access to the website of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats through its HomeSafe filter.

Among the content blocked was a feature about Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s most recent article for PinkNews.

TalkTalk subsequently apologised for blocking access to the site, after the internet service provider (ISP) incorrectly classified it as “pornographic”. 

The day before, TalkTalk had to apologise for blocking access to the website of London Friend, one of the capital’s oldest LGBT charities.

PinkNews also revealed parental controls for users of BT broadband included an option to block “gay and lesbian lifestyle” sites, as well as sexual health information. 

Several ISPs, including TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin, introduced web filters last year ahead of David Cameron’s endorsement of the proposal.

As well as blocking access to several non-pornographic websites on multiple occasions the filters have allowed access to pornographic websites – thus failing in their primary aim.

Sites that have recently been blocked include: BBC News Online, Stonewall, the Downing Street website and the Conservative Party’s main website.