Sleaze scandal will 'clear out' ministers, warns leading Tory
More ministers are likely to be sacked over the Westminster sexual harassment scandal, a leading Conservative warned yesterday as it emerged that new victims may be preparing to come forward with claims about Theresa May's key ally Damian Green.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Westminster was at a "watershed moment" and that she expected to see a "clearing out" of MPs and government ministers.
Last night the scandal took another turn when Chris Pincher, a government whip, referred himself to the police and to his party's disciplinary panel over claims that he had propositioned a former Olympic rower while wearing a bathrobe.
Prime minister Theresa May will today meet fellow her party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Vince Cable, as well as John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, to try to defuse the crisis and set up formal structures to protect both men and women in Parliament.
In remarks to a business conference today, Mrs May will say that "now is the time to act decisively - without fear or favour - to guarantee a safe and respectful working environment for everyone in the future".
Mrs May will say she wants to ensure that "people's careers cannot be damaged by unfounded rumours circulated anonymously online". The Cabinet Office will today begin a formal investigation into Mr Green, the First Secretary of State, amid reports that more women are preparing to come forward.
The inquiry into Mr Green was triggered after Kate Maltby, a writer three decades younger than Mr Green, said 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.
Yesterday Ms Maltby claimed that more women were planning to come forward with claims about Mr Green. She wrote in 'The Sunday Times': "There are others who have offered to give similar evidence in private to a forthcoming Cabinet Office inquiry."
Mr Green has strongly denied the claims.
Yesterday the inquiry was widened to include new allegations that "extreme" pornography was discovered on one of Mr Green's parliamentary computers after a raid by officers from Scotland Yard nine years ago. The claims were made in a leaked memorandum prepared by Bob Quick, a former assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, for the Leveson inquiry.
He said that if similar material had been found on a police officer's computer it could have resulted in "gross misconduct" charges and dismissal.
Mr Green denied the pornography was found on his computer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)