Damian Green sacked for misleading parliament about pornography claims

Written by John Ashmore on 21 December 2017 in News

Theresa May forced to sack her closest ally in cabinet after inquiry finds he lied to parliament

Damian Green - PA

Theresa May has sacked Damian Green after a probe found he lied about porn being found on his Commons computer.

The Prime Minister forced her closest Cabinet colleague and de facto deputy to resign after he was found to have breached the ministerial code of conduct.

A Cabinet Office inquiry found he had made "inaccurate and misleading" comments about indecent material found on his parliamentary computer in 2008.

The First Secretary is the third Cabinet minister to leave the Government in the last two months following the resignations of Michael Fallon and Priti Patel, and his departure is a huge personal blow for May.

The investigation into Green was sparked by claims he had behaved inappropriately towards journalist Kate Maltby, who said he had touched her knee and sent her suggestive text messages. 

While the inquiry found it was "not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on the appropriateness of Mr Green’s behaviour" with Maltby, he was criticised for his response to separate claims about the existence of pornographic material on his office computer during a raid by police investigating Home Office leaks.

While the Cabinet Secretary's report draws no conclusions about whether Green viewed inappropriate material, calling it a "matter for the police", it says he breached the ministerial code by twice claiming he was not aware of the allegations about him. 

"Mr Green’s statements of 4 and 11 November, which suggested that he was not aware that indecent material was found on parliamentary computers in his office, were inaccurate and misleading, as the Metropolitan Police Service had previously informed him of the existence of this material," the report reads.

"These statements therefore fall short of the honesty requirement of the Seven Principles of Public Life and constitute breaches of the Ministerial Code. Mr Green accepts this."

In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Green said it had been a "privilege" to serve in her Cabinet.

He added: "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 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."

Green went on: "I deeply regret the distress caused to Kate Maltby following her article about me and the reaction to it. I do not recognise the events she described in her article, but I clearly made her feel uncomfortable and for that I apologise."

In her reply, May said she was "extremely sad" to be accepting his resignation.

But she added: "I know that you share my commitment to maintaining the high standards that the public demands from ministers of the Crown.

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

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