Theresa May’s deputy rejects office-computer pornography claim

Damian Green already being investigated after journalist claimed he acted inappropriately

 

Theresa May’s deputy has rejected as untrue a claim by a retired police officer that he downloaded and viewed thousands of pornographic images on his office computer at Westminster. First minister Damian Green, the prime minister’s closest ally in the cabinet, is already under investigation by the cabinet office after journalist Kate Maltby claimed that he acted inappropriately towards her.

“I’ve said that I’m not commenting any further while the investigation is going on. I’ve maintained all along, I still maintain, it is the truth that I didn’t download or look at pornography on my computer. But obviously while the investigation is going on I can’t say any more at the moment,” he said.

Neil Lewis, a former Metropolitan Police detective, told the BBC on Friday that he found thousands of pornographic images on Mr Green’s computer at Westminster during an investigation into a leak in 2008. Mr Lewis said he had no doubt that Mr Green had viewed the images, which were legal and not of an extreme nature, because he was sending emails and viewing documents in between viewing them.

“The shocking thing, as I was viewing it, I noticed a lot of pornography: thumbnails, which indicated web browsing. There was a lot of them. I was surprised to see that on a parliament computer. I had to take a step back because I wasn’t expecting that,” the retired detective said.

The investigation was into a leak of official information when Mr Green was an opposition spokesman critical of the human rights implications of the Labour government’s law and order policies. The investigation by Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command led to no charges and Conservatives were later critical of the police’s actions.

Public airing

A number of Conservative MPs on Friday criticised Mr Lewis’s public airing of information he obtained during a police investigation, a view shared by the Metropolitan Police.

“Confidential information gathered during a police inquiry should not be made public,” the Met said in a statement.

Brexit secretary David Davis was reported to have threatened to resign if Mr Green is sacked because of the pornography allegations, although he backed the investigation into Ms Maltby’s claims.

“It is right that allegations of misconduct towards individuals are properly investigated, but police officers have a duty of confidentiality which should be upheld,” a friend of Mr Davis told the Evening Standard.

Mr Davis’s associates said the Brexit secretary had told the prime minister “in words of one syllable” that he would find it hard to remain in his post if Mr Green was sacked because of the latest revelations.

Labour MP Jess Phillips was among those who reacted with scorn to reports of Mr Davis’s ultimatum.

“David Davis, your red line, your hill to die on is really something. ‘What made you want to become an MP?’ ‘Great question, I really wanted to fight hard so people can wank at work’,” she tweeted.