Parliamentary computers used by MPs, peers and civil servants were used to access a fetish and bondage website more than 3,000 times last year.

The birchplace.com, which bills itself as "the largest community for TVs (transvestites) TSs (transsexuals), sissies, maids and mistresses" gained thousands of hits from the computer system of the Houses of Parliament in March, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Times following a Freedom of Information Act request.

On the site, browsers can contact male and female escorts, as well as buy fetish gear, bondage costumes and "smut".

Politicians and civil servants with time to kill also spent time playing online games or shopping.

Among the 500 most popular sites for users of the parliamentary computer network was FarmVille, a Facebook game in which players run their own farm, which was viewed 300,000 times and Tribal Wars, in which users control a Medieval village, which gained 7,300 hits.

Earlier this year it was revealed that parliamentary computers had been used to attempt to access pornography 300,000 times in 2012.

Some argue that the figures are misleading, and even with parliament's long history of sleaze there may be a still embarrassing, but more prosaic explanation.

An investigation by Private Eye magazine found that the 300,000 figure reported included all attempts to access a site that were blocked by the system's content filter.

There was a sudden spike in the figures in November 2012, when a series of sex scandals broke, which could be explained by legitimate attempts to access information.

The report also claims that a Trojan horse virus, which downloads porn on to computers by disguising itself as a benign function, took hold of parliamentary computers for months during the period in question.

Perhaps similar factors could explain the latest figures.

The truth may turn out to be less lurid than the headlines, though as Private Eye remarks: "Falling victim to a porn-spewing virus through inadequate security procedures (and taking weeks to deal with it) does not look too good either."