Monday 24 June 2019

British PM's deputy Damian Green resigns after allegations that pornography was found on his computer

Damian Green Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire
Damian Green Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire Newsdesk Newsdesk

Theresa May has sacked her lifelong friend and de facto deputy Damian Green after he made "misleading" statements about allegations that pornography was found on computers in his parliamentary office in 2008.

Mr Green leaves his post as First Secretary of State continuing to deny "unfounded and deeply hurtful" claims he downloaded or viewed porn on his parliamentary computer.

But an investigation by the Cabinet Office found two statements Mr Green made on November 4 and 11, which suggested he was not aware indecent material was found by police in a 2008 raid, were "inaccurate and misleading" and breached the ministerial code.

Mrs May said she was "extremely sad" to ask her close ally to resign but stressed his behaviour "falls short" of the Seven Principles of Public Life.

In a letter to Mr Green, she said: "While I can understand the considerable distress caused to you by some of the allegations which have been made in recent weeks, I know that you share my commitment to maintaining the high standards which the public demands of ministers of the Crown.

"It is therefore with deep regret, and enduring gratitude for the contribution you have made over many years, that I asked you to resign from the Government and have accepted your resignation."

Mr Green apologised for making misleading statements and said he "regrets" being sacked.

In a letter to the PM, he said: "From the outset I have been clear that I did not download or view pornography on my parliamentary computers.

"I accept that I should have been clear in my press statements that police lawyers talked to my lawyers in 2008 about the pornography on the computers, and that the police raised it with me in a subsequent phone call in 2013.

"I apologise that my statements were misleading on this point.

"The unfounded and deeply hurtful allegations that were being levelled at me were distressing both to me and my family and it is right that these are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police's professional standards department."

The inquiry was triggered after Kate Maltby, who is three decades younger than Mr Green, claimed he "fleetingly" touched her knee during a meeting in a pub in 2015, and a year later sent her a "suggestive" text message after she was pictured wearing a corset in a newspaper.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said that with "competing and contradictory accounts of what were private meetings" it was "not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on the appropriateness of Mr Green's behaviour with Kate Maltby in early 2015, though the investigation found Ms Maltby's account to be plausible".

A source close to Brexit Secretary David Davis confirmed he would not quit the Government in protest at Mr Green's sacking, despite a report earlier this month that he had threatened to resign if the First Secretary of State was forced out over the material found by the police.

Mr Davis was Mr Green's boss as shadow home secretary at the time of the raid.

Mr Green is the second Cabinet Minister to resign over the Westminster sexual harassment scandal, after Sir Michael Fallon quit as Defence Secretary on November 1.

He said his behaviour had "fallen below the high standards required" after he admitted putting his hand on the knee of radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer some years ago.

He was among a number of politicians caught in a wave of allegations of improper behaviour.

Press Association

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