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First Minister – and de facto deputy prime minister – Damian Green has been accused of making inappropriate advances [Image: Carl Court/Getty].

On the day a member of Damian Green’s office staff reportedly approached the Cabinet Office inquiry into his behaviour to support his accuser Kate Maltby, it must be worth asking why that inquiry has taken almost a month and a half to report its findings on an open-and-shut case.

Sue Gray, head of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet Office, launched her inquiry on November 1. This Writer understands it is asking whether Mr Green broke the Ministerial Code in his behaviour towards Ms Maltby, who has alleged that incidents took place in early 2015 and May 2016, and in having pornography on a computer in his office, found by police conducting an inquiry into a separate matter in 2008, weeks before the kind of material present was due to be classified as illegal.

The trouble, as This Writer sees it, is that Mr Green was not a minister at the time of any of the incidents, therefore I don’t see how the Ministerial Code applies.

However, if he was making persistent unwanted overtures of a sexual nature to Ms Maltby, then he cannot be said to be innocent of any offence.

And, as it now seems clear that a large amount of extreme pornographic material was indeed found on a computer in a Parliamentary office for which Mr Green was responsible, it seems clear that he should have faced the penalty that any other office worker would have undergone in the same situation: The sack.

I am concerned that the Conservative government, by considering whether the Ministerial Code was breached, is investigating the wrong issue – in order to find that he did not breach the Code and close the matter there.

Questioning about the alleged sexual harassment and the computer porn could then be met with an assertion that these matters were investigated, and Mr Green would effectively get away without having to account for the improprieties alleged against him – or atone for them, if the allegations are accurate.

So it is time for clarity from the person at the top of this inquiry.

Is Sue Gray investigating whether Mr Green harassed a journalist and had porn on his computer?

Or is she engaged in a wild goose chase about a breach of the Ministerial Code when Mr Green wasn’t a minister?

Let us have some answers now – before the inquiry report blows smoke in all our faces.


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