A former Labour MP has been jailed for more than two years for making and distributing child abuse images.
Paul Clark, who represented Gillingham in Kent for 13 years, was sentenced to 28 months in prison at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday.
A total of 1,446 indecent images of children were found on five electronic devices at Clark’s home, which also revealed online chats in which he “discussed his sexual desires” and distributed the material, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The court heard that Clark initially made no comment when he was arrested at his home by the National Crime Agency (NCA), but that he later told officers: “I know why you’re here”, and “I kept telling myself to stop”.
Clark pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and six counts of distributing indecent images of children between April 2013 and May 2021 last December.
Clark was elected to parliament in 1997 but lost his seat at the 2010 general election.
During his time in parliament, he served as parliamentary private secretary to the then-deputy prime minister, John Prescott, as well as education secretary Ed Balls.
He was also a parliamentary under-secretary for the Department for Transport from October 2008 to May 2010.
Clark must sign sex offenders register
The court heard there was no evidence that any of Clark’s offending took place while he was in office.
Clark has also been issued with a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and must sign the sex offenders register.
Catrin Attwell, from the CPS’s organised child sexual abuse unit, said: “Paul Clark knew he was in possession of and shared indecent images of children but did not admit his wrongdoing when interviewed under caution.
“When later presented with the overwhelming evidence, he pleaded guilty.
“Examination of the electronic devices revealed offences relating to indecent images of children on five devices, this included imagery of children as young as three and a high number of moving images.
“The electronic devices also revealed chatlogs in which Clark discussed his sexual desires, distributed indecent images of children to others for their sexual gratification and used social media to identify and talk to users under the age of 18.”