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An uncharitable person might claim that a ‘circle of jerks’ had formed to defend the use of Parliamentary computer sysems for auto-eroticism.

The revelation that David Davis has offered to resign as Brexit Secretary if Damian Green loses his job has prompted comments that he should have picked a more appropriate excuse to put down that poisoned chalice.

Mr Davis made what he intended to be a threat – but we should take as an offer – after former detective Neil Lewis, who examined Mr Green’s computers as part of Operation Miser (an investigation into the leak of politically-sensitive material from Parliament), provided evidence that the pornography found there could only have been accessed by the now-First Secretary of State.

A friend of Mr Davies said: “David has made it clear that he will not stand idly by if as a result of wrong behaviour by the police then Damian is forced out. The police are using tactics straight out of the mafia playbook.”

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the actions of the retired officers in leaking the allegations against Green had “the smack of the police state”, telling the BBC’s Newsnight: “This can’t be right. They are in flagrant breach of their own code of conduct and practice.”

Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins delivered a rambling attack on the former police officers who have accused Mr Green. He told the BBC’s The World Tonight: “People are making accusations against [Damian Green] who clearly have a vested interest in trying to justify what they originally did, which was an outrageous invasion of Parliamentary privilege.

“Are policemen going to pursue politicians into every newsagents to see what magazines they pick up?

“My understanding is they were told to destroy this material when the original raid was considered defunct. He didn’t destroy it; he held onto it for nine years, and now it comes out – very suspiciously.

“The original investigation was very odd. It was instigated by the Home Office into a leak of politically embarrassing material.

“The whole thing stinks to me, but the hysteria surrounding it is now out of all proportion.

“I’m sure lots of people in their office ours look at things on computers which they shouldn’t be looking at on computers. Whether it’s a sackable offence for a deputy prime minister… We don’t know he did it, for goodness’ sake – he’s denied it, he’s not allowed a court of law on this, it’s perfectly possible to hack into other people’s computers and use their destinations, it could be someone else using his computer; we just don’t know.”

But Stephen Roberts, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told the same programme: “Police officers take an oath of duty to the Crown to serve the public good, and there are occasions when that duty outweighs the normal conventions.”

And Mr Lewis himself said: “The computer was in Mr Green’s office, on his desk, logged in, his account, his name.

“In between browsing pornography, he was sending emails from his account, his personal account, reading documents … it was ridiculous to suggest anybody else could have done it.”

He said: “When I left the police I kept one notebook and that was the notebook for Operation Miser, because that was the case that I was uncomfortable with.”

Lewis said he was motivated to come forward when he read about Mr Green’s denial of claims by Bob Quick, a former Metropolitan assistant commissioner, who told the Sunday Times that pornography had been found on the politician’s computer.

“His outright denial of that was quite amazing, followed by his criticism of Bob Quick,” Lewis said. “I contacted Bob Quick to offer my support.”

Asked if it was possible for anyone else to access Green’s machine, Lewis said: “It was so extensive, whoever had done it would have had to push Mr Green to one side to say ‘Get out, I’m using your computer’.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police has said Mr Lewis should not have made his information public and an investigation was taking place, but This Writer finds himself in rare agreement with Labour’s Jess Phillips, who said: “Both people can be in the wrong and there still has to be a case to answer.

“If what is being said, which I hope is being submitted to the proper investigation, is believed to be true on the balance of probabilities, then yes it does change things and Damian Green cannot stay in his position.

“The pressure is mounting on him. There is no illegality but would you be fired if you looked at pornography on your work computer? The problem for me in all of this is how people use their power to not live by the same rules that everybody else has to.”

The evidence seems clear: Pornography was found on a computer in Mr Green’s office, and the browsing history certainly suggests that it was accessed by Mr Green himself. His denial seems false – and if that is found to be false, it is a sacking offence for a Minister of the Crown. More generally, any other office worker who is found to have material of this kind on their computer would be sacked out of hand.

Members of the public seem to have made up their own minds:

This Writer’s concern is: If Mr Lewis had taken his evidence through the proper channels, would we ever have been allowed to know it existed?


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