BREAKING NEWS: PM sacks deputy Damian Green after report finds he lied when he said there was no porn on his Parliamentary computer as cop who found it nine years ago finally gets his man
Theresa May tonight sacked her de facto deputy Damian Green after he was found to have lied over claims pornography was found on his office computer.
The First Secretary of State was ‘asked to resign’ from the Government by the Prime Minister – who he has been close friends with since they were at university together 30 years ago.
An official investigation found that Mr Green made ‘inaccurate and misleading’ statements about whether porn had been found on his office computers in 2008.
Although allegations that he behaved inappropriately to a Tory activist Kate Maltby were found unproven, his actions over the porn claims were considered a breach of the ministerial code.
It makes him the third cabinet minister to quit from Mrs May’s top team in just six weeks.
Allegations he viewed vast amounts of porn on his office computer first surfaced in early November at the height of the Westminster sleaze scandal.
He scrambled to deny the claims – insisting in a statement on November 4 that the ‘police have never suggested to me that improper material was found on my parliamentary computer’.
But while he continues to deny claims he viewed inappropriate material on his office computer, he has now admitted that police did talk to his lawyers about the allegations back in 2008 and again in 2013.
And it is this statement that has been his undoing and forced him to quit from Mrs May’s Cabinet.
Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green (pictured) has resigned as First Secretary of State
Damian Green, pictured with Theresa May at PMQs today, has known he PM since they were at Oxford University together and is one of her closest allies in politics. His departure is a major blow for the PM
In a statement, Mr Green 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 statement that police lawyers talked to my lawyers in 2008 about the pornography on the computers, and that the police raised it with me in 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 to both me and my family and it is right that these are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s professional standards department.’
The departure of Mr Green, regarded as Mrs May’s closest ally in politics, will be a hammer blow to the PM as she was struggling to get her government back on track.
She had fought for weeks to try and find a way to save him, but eventually decided he must go.
Former Met Police assistant commissioner Bob Quick claimed he found vast quantities of porn of Damian Green’s office computers when he raided his parliamentary office in 2008. Mr Green continues to deny viewing the material, but accepts that police did contact him about the claims, he has today been forced to issue a resignation letter (pictured right)
Mr Green’s letter pointedly stayed that he had been ‘asked’ to resign – indicating his desire had been to tough out the storm.
The 61-year-old wrote a resignation letter to Mrs May today and said that he and ‘should have been clear’ when giving statements about the incident.
He wrote: ‘I accept that I should have been clear in my press statement 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.’
Mrs May accepted his resignation and wrote: ‘I’m extremely sad to be writing this letter, we have been friends and colleagues throughout our whole political lives.
‘From our early days at university, entering the House of Commons at the same election, and serving alongside each other, both in opposition and in government, I have greatly appreciated your hard work and the contribution you have made to my team.’
Damian Green, pictured with his wife Alicia, said the allegations against him have been deeply hurtful to him and his family
But she said she asked her de facto deputy to leave the Cabinet after he accepted that statements he put out denying the allegations on November 4 and 11 ‘were inaccurate and misleading’.
She said this amounted to a breach of the ministerial code.
Mrs May added: ‘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 highs standards which the public demand of minsters of the crown.
‘It is therefore with deep regret and enduring attitude for the contribution you have make over many years, that I asked you to resign from the Government and have accepted your resignation.’
Miss Maltby last night declined to comment, but her parents, Colin and Victoria Maltby, issued a statement to say they were ‘proud of her’.
They said: ‘We are pleased that the Cabinet Office has concluded its enquiry into the conduct of Damian Green.
‘We are not surprised to find that the inquiry found Mr Green to have been untruthful as a minister, nor to that they found our daughter to be a plausible witness.
‘We have received many supportive messages from people near and far who appreciate Kate’s courage and the importance of speaking out about the abuse of authority.
‘We join with them in admiring her fortitude and serenity throughout the length of the investigation and despite the attempted campaign in certain sections of the media to denigrate and intimidate her and other witnesses. We are proud of her.
‘We have ourselves known of these incidents since they first occurred and have fully supported Kate in the responsible manner in which she has reported them.’