Damian Green sacked from British government after pornography claim

May ally said in letter he had not seen images but lied about being informed of them

Britain’s first secretary of state and the effective deputy to prime minister Theresa May, Damian Green, has been sacked from the British government. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Britain’s first secretary of state and the effective deputy to prime minister Theresa May, Damian Green, has been sacked from the British government. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

 

Theresa May’s closest ministerial ally and effective deputy British prime minister has resigned after an investigation found he made inaccurate and misleading statements about pornography found on a computer in his parliamentary office.

Damian Green said in a letter to the prime minister that he had not viewed the indecent images but acknowledged he had lied about the fact police had informed him about them.

“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,” he said.

The seven-week Cabinet Office investigation also considered a claim by Kate Maltby, a journalist and Conservative activist, that Mr Green had behaved in a sexually inappropriate way towards her. It found that, although her account was plausible, it was impossible to determine the truth about what had happened.

“I do not recognise the events she described in her article, but I clearly made her feel uncomfortable and for this I apologise,” Mr Green wrote.

Police search

The pornography was discovered during a police search of Mr Green’s office in 2008 in connection with a leak of official material. No charges were made in connection with either the leak or the pornographic material, which was legal, but a Metropolitan Police officer told the media about the indecent images following Ms Maltby’s allegation about Mr Green.

The police officer’s behaviour was criticised by the Met’s chief constable Cressida Dick, and in her response to Mr Green’s resignation letter, the prime minister condemned it too.

Ms May appointed Mr Green, a friend since they were at university together, as first minister following June’s general election.

But she said the investigation had shown clearly that he was in breach of the code of ministerial conduct and he had to leave the government.

“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,” she said.