PLANS to have pornography blocked by web providers unless households choose to allow it has been welcomed.

‘Family friendly’ filters are set to be automatically introduced for new and existing customers, in a bid to stop images ‘corroding childhood’.

Former Home Secretary and Blackburn MP Jack Straw, who was involved in the creation of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre, said he was glad the measures would be brought into place.

He said: “Some of the images that are available online are horrible.These plans are a good idea.

“I agree it is an infringement of freedoms, but freedom of speech has to be qualified.

“It is essential that we take greater measures to stop people being able to access illegal images which exploit children.”

Prime Minister David Cameron also announced that possessing online pornography depicting rape would be illegal, bringing England and Wales in line with Scotland.

He also called for some ‘horrific’ internet search terms to be blacklisted, meaning they will automatically bring up no results on search engines.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said he supported Mr Cameron’s plans ‘wholeheartedly’.

He said: “We need to do something to stop this awful pornographic material flying around the internet. It is corroding childhood.

“I have got children and grandchildren and some of the stuff I am told is on the internet is particularly horrendous.

“The people peddling this sort of material are utterly depraved.”

CEOP chief executive Peter Davies said he agreed measures should be stepped up to make the internet a ‘more hostile place for child sex offenders’.

He said: “Let’s not lose sight that every child abuse image is a crime scene and every time an image is accessed the child is being re-victimised.

“Also, those who access child abuse images often have a sexual interest in children which manifests itself in other even more harmful ways.

“Anything which helps stop the distribution of this material or deters those who feed the market by accessing it online can only be a good thing “Working with leading companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook, we’re ready to hear their ideas on other ways to stop child abuse material being viewed online.”