Tag Archives: Damian Green

Theresa May doesn’t want to answer these questions about Damian Green – but she should

Damian Green, the now-former first secretary of state, described the claims against him as ‘untrue and deeply hurtful’ [Image: Andrew Matthews/PA].

Good questions from Fleet Street Fox.

Will they every be answered?

This Writer doubts it.

But we will never be able to trust a Tory government until they are.

1. Did he abuse his power?

The original allegation by academic and writer Kate Maltby was that before he was a minister Green, who was a family friend, touched her knee, said his wife was “very understanding”, and gave her to understand that her career as a Tory activist could be advanced by an affair with a sleazy bald man 30 years her senior.

Beyond saying she was “plausible” her claims have not been studied. As a result, the voters of Ashford in Kent, his colleagues in government, and his friend Theresa still don’t know if he was in the habit of using his position as a MP to satisfy personal lust, and to do so by pressurising or dangling preferment before women who might otherwise have told him to sod off.

2. Did he try to destroy Kate Maltby?

In the wake of her allegations the Daily Mail published not one but two unfavourable opinion pieces about Kate.

It quoted an unnamed friend saying her parents “will be absolutely aghast by what Kate has done. They are good and decent people who eschew publicity. They are still friends with Damian and his wife. I’m tempted to say what was she thinking about. But we know that. She was thinking about Kate Maltby.”

Her parents said: “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… despite the attempted campaign in certain sections of the media to denigrate and intimidate her and other witnesses. We are proud of her.”

So who was the unnamed friend? Was it Green, one of his associates, or a member of his staff? Journalists should always protect their sources, but not when it turns out the source has lied in what looks like an attempt to destroy the reputation of a “plausible” woman.

If Green was not involved in an ugly public campaign to wreck the credibility of a self-employed woman who had annoyed him, he has a right to be cleared of any suspicion. And if he or any of his friends were, we have a right to know.

3. What did Theresa May know, and when?

Theresa May has been mates with Damian Green for her entire adult life. When the allegations emerged she ordered a whitewash – that Kate’s claims shouldn’t be examined closely, but instead whether he’d broken the rules of behaviour since.

Did he discuss it with her? Did he lie to her?

During the inquiry she didn’t suspend him, or move him out of harm’s way – she allowed him to sit in for her at Prime Minister’s Questions, to chair cabinet committees, to remain at the top table.

If she did that knowing he had made false statements about what he knew of pornography on his computer her position is untenable. Perhaps someone else in Downing Street knew, and kept it from her – in which case we need to know when they’re going to be sacked, too.

Source: There are 3 important questions Damian Green still hasn’t answered – Fleet Street Fox – Mirror Online


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Damian Green affair: Information Commissioner to examine possible data protection breaches

Bob Quick: One of the former officers who has been accused of breaching the Data Protection Act, Mr Quick was still at the Metropolitan Police when this image was taken.

The Information Commissioner has been asked to investigate whether former police officers breached their data protection responsibilities to make information public that pornography was found on a computer in Damian Green’s Parliamentary office in 2008.

It is alleged that former Metropolitan Police officers Bob Quick and Neil Lewis should not have retained the evidence they used to accuse Mr Green, nor should they have made it public.

That’s all very well – but the fact is that Mr Green has been forced to resign because he lied about those allegations; they revealed an aspect of his character and/or behaviour that was unacceptable in a UK government minister.

Mr Green had claimed he was not notified of the fact that pornography was found on the office computer, when in fact he was made aware of it in 2008 and 2013.

So it may be argued that the ex-officers had a duty to disclose the information in the public interest. And don’t all police officers swear an oath to pursue justice – an oath that overrides all other considerations?

As I am writing this article, a Conservative has appeared on BBC News, saying the former officers should be investigated for “misconduct in public office”, saying people would not be able to trust the police with their personal information.

But this was damning information – people who are innocent of wrong-doing have nothing to fear, it seems to This Writer. And they would have to still be in public office, to be accused of misconduct in it. Wouldn’t they?

The issue is complicated – and the law may not be written in a way that supports justice in this case.

So the Information Commissioner has a difficult job. Let us hope the final verdict supports the interests of the public and of justice – and not the petty concerns of politicians who have been shamed.


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Another one bites the dust: Damian Green ousted over pornography cover-up

Gone: Damian Green has been forced to resign from the minority Conservative government.

Damian Green has been forced out of the government after a Cabinet Office investigation found he had misled the public and MPs over pornography found on a computer in his Parliamentary office.

Mr Green is the third Cabinet minister to be forced out of office in the last two months, following Michael Fallon and Priti Patel.

The inquiry, run by Sue Gray, found that Mr Green had misled the public in statements he made on November 4 and 11, denying that police had ever told him about pornographic material found in a raid on his office in 2008.

In fact, the police had raised it with his solicitor in 2008 and with him directly in 2013.

Mrs May told Mr Green to resign on Wednesday evening, and is not expected to replace him in the immediate future.

The decision is a vindication of former Metropolitan police officers Bob Quick and Neil Lewis, who came forward to make it clear that pornograpic material was found on a computer in Mr Green’s office, no matter what the now-former First Minister had to say about it.

Ms Gray did not present the Prime Minister with any conclusions about whether Mr Green had behaved inappropriately towards the writer Kate Maltby, whose complaint triggered the inquiry, or whether he had ever viewed or downloaded pornography at work.

The investigation concluded that because of “competing and contradictory accounts” of private meetings involving Mr Green and Ms Maltby it was not possible “to reach a definitive conclusion on the appropriateness of Mr Green’s behaviour with Kate Maltby in early 2015”, however, the investigation “found Ms Maltby’s account to be plausible”.

The Cabinet Office report also stated that: “Mr Green’s statements of 4 and 11 November, which suggested that he was not aware that indecent material was found on parliamentary computers in his office, were inaccurate and misleading, as the Metropolitan Police Service had previously informed him of the existence of this material.

“These statements therefore fall short of the honesty requirement of the Seven Principles of Public Life and constitute breaches of the Ministerial Code. Mr Green accepts this.”

But there is a sting in the tale for the former police officers who have ended Mr Green’s Cabinet career; Theresa May has said they breached a “duty of confidentiality” by revealing details of what was found on Mr Green’s computer in 2008 when his parliamentary office was raided.

She wrote, in her letter that, it seems, both demanded and accepted Mr Green’s resignation (if he had been sacked, he wouldn’t have received a generous Cabinet pension – make of that what you will): “I shared the concerns raised from across the political spectrum when your Parliamentary office was raided in 2008 when you were a shadow home office minister holding the then Labour Government to account.

“And I share the concerns, raised once again from across the political spectrum, at the comments made by a former officer involved in that case in recent weeks. I am glad that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police’s professional standards department are reviewing the comments which have been made.”

So it seems that, having been forced to get rid of Damian Green because of evidence brought forward in the name of justice, Mrs May is determined to discourage anybody else from doing the decent thing by fouling the names of the former officers concerned.

To This Writer, such behaviour does not resemble good government.

Considering the facts, perhaps Mrs May would care to explain how justice has not been served by the officers, who came forward at considerable risk to their own reputations in order to ensure the facts of this case were made public?

Why is the prime minister of the United Kingdom trying to justify attempts to hide important facts?

This Writer will shed no tears of Mr Green’s demise; he is a nasty piece of work.

As Work and Pensions Secretary, he worked hard to justify the Conservative government’s persecution of society’s most vulnerable people, in the fact of hard evidence including the film I, Daniel Blake, in which director Ken Loach described vividly the trials faced by sickness benefit claimants in Tory Britain.

He has worked equally hard, as First Minister, to discredit those who rightly stood up against him when claims were made about his behaviour.

It is good that he has gone.

In fact, his dismissal may go some way towards restoring faith in the UK’s government system, as it was a Cabinet Office inquiry that demanded his removal.

For This Site, that makes three-for-three; three Cabinet-level removals following revelations against the MPs concerned.

But there are plenty more candidates for removal left to go.

Why is Boris Johnson still Foreign Secretary, after he failed to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from prison in Iran? His incompetence threatened to double her unjust prison sentence.

And why is David Davis still Brexit Secretary, after he botched negotiations with the EU27 countries so badly and then claimed that the UK could renege on the deal that had been hammered out?

Mr Davis was once said to be considering resigning in protest at the way Mr Green has been treated – but it seems that was just hot air and he will not follow through on the claim.

These vermin need to be aware that we have a 100 per cent record of clearing out pests like them – and we intend to keep it that way.

(Source: Theresa May’s effective deputy Damian Green quits over pornography cover-up)


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Will we ever hear back from the inquiry into Damian Green, pornography and inappropriate behaviour?

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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Did Damian Green allow police to find porn on his computer in order to avoid prosecution?

[Image: Reuters.]

Does anybody know who has authority, in Westminster’s Parliamentary offices, to delete material from computer hard disks?

A friend with experience of such matters suggested to This Writer yesterday that it is possible nobody in Damian Green’s office, including the MP himself, had authority as an administrator to edit or remove the offending images, once they had been downloaded. The person who did download them may not have known this until they tried to remove it.

The material was discovered by police, during an investigation into the leaking of embarrassing information from Parliament into the public domain that happened a matter of weeks before the images were due to become illegal according to a change in the law.

My friend suggested that allowing the police to find the material, while it was still legally viewable, as part of an investigation in which it would be incidental, would allow it to be removed before the change in the law took place. This would mean the person responsible for downloading it would not have to fear prosecution for possessing it, at a later time.

There are problems with this suggestion, of course. But it is an interesting theory and I invite readers to consider and discuss it.


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Will Damian Green retract ‘lie’ claim about porn found on his computer?

[Image: Reuters.]

Mr Quick makes a good – and timely – point.

Tories who are defending Mr Green have given up trying to claim that police did not find pornography on a computer in the First Secretary’s Parliamentary office in 2008.

Instead, they have admitted practices that suggest serious data protection breaches (Nadine Dorries), or suggested that the indecent material could have somehow downloaded itself onto the computer as if by magic (Eleanor Laing).

Neither seems plausible, but both seem to clearly accept that images were found on a computer for which Mr Green was responsible.

So Mr Green’s claim that Mr Quick was lying now appears to be highly actionable.

I wonder how he’ll respond.

A former senior police officer has demanded cabinet minister Damian Green publicly retracts a claim that he lied about pornography being found on a computer in the MP’s office in 2008.

Bob Quick said he would consider legal action against the first secretary of state if he did not do so.

In a tweet, Mr Green had described Mr Quick as “untrustworthy” and accused him of making “untrue” allegations.

Mr Green denies downloading or watching pornography on his work computers.

In a statement issued by his lawyers, Mr Quick said: “Damian Green called me a liar in the statement he tweeted on 4 November 2017. That is completely untrue.

“Everything I have said is accurate, in good faith, and in the firm belief that I have acted in the public interest.”

He added: “I am in no way motivated politically and bear no malice whatsoever to Damian Green.

“This is despite unfortunate and deeply hurtful attempts to discredit me.”

Source: Ex-police officer demands Damian Green retracts ‘lie’ claim – BBC News


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Expect thousands of unfair dismissal claims as Damian Green says porn appeared on his computer without being downloaded

Bad omens: Damian Green’s defenders have already caused a crisis over data protection breaches in Westminster; now they are offering an excuse to everybody who has ever been sacked for having porn on their office computer.

How kind of Damian Green to provide office workers across the world with an excuse if pornography is found on their computers!

How unfortunate for employers who have sacked who-knows-how-many office workers for having downloaded porn – and may now face multiple “unfair dismissal” claims from disgruntled ex-employees with an axe to grind!

If Tory ‘reforms’ of legal aid make it prohibitive for people to challenge their employers singly, This Writer can heartily recommend getting together with others to mount joint legal challenges.

According to the Torygraph, Mr Green has provided evidence from Deputy Commons Speaker Eleanor Laing “showing porn has been found on other parliamentary computers without being downloaded or watched by staff”.

Politics Home amplifies: “He has passed on an email from deputy speaker of the House of Commons Eleanor Laing to Ms Gray, explaining that a member of her staff also found porn on her computer without having accessed or watched it.”

How did it get there, then – by magic?

But Ms Laing is clearly one of the queue of Tories lining up to defend Mr Green, any way they can – like Education Secretary Justine Greening, who called for action to be taken against the former police officers who brought forward evidence of pornography they found on Mr Green’s office computer, along with evidence that he was logged in when the material was downloaded.

She said (again according to Politics Home): “I think it is important that we have high standards in public life.”

This Writer agrees – but there are grounds to believe the evidence would have been suppressed if the gentlemen concerned had not come forward in the way they did. And high standards in public life should start with our Parliamentary representatives.

One example of the failure of such standards is the behaviour of David Davis, Brexit Secretary and Cabinet ally of Mr Green. Sources (whoever they may be) were quoted as saying Mr Davis was ready to quit his government job if Mr Green is sacked – but now Politics Home is saying they have changed their tune: “A source told HuffPost UK that Mr Davis was not likely to step down, but did feel ‘aggrieved’ at Mr Green’s treatment.

“’David has an historic role in government and we are within touching distance of getting a major breakthrough on Brexit. Why would he walk away from that?’”

Obviously this was before the historic collapse of that “major breakthrough”. I wonder how Mr Davis feels about these matters now.


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Nadine Dorries reveals shocking breaches of data security as Damian Green porn saga thickens

There’s a reason we call her ‘Mad Nad’, folks.

Yes, Mid Bedfordshire Tory MP Nadine Dorries has leapt to the defence of Damian Green, by triggering a data protection controversy that could engulf any number of MPs and their office staff as well.

The allegation – as we all know by now, right? – is that First Secretary of State Damian Green, the man in the second-highest political job in the land, who stands accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a lady called Kate Maltby, was found to have been misusing Parliamentary computers by using them to watch porn, as long ago as 2008.

Former police officers have been lining up to publicise evidence that a computer in Mr Green’s office was used to access thousands of pornographic images, saying he must have been the culprit as he was logged in when the images were viewed.

But Ms Dorries leapt into the fray on Saturday evening, pointing out:

Oh, really?

We’ll come back to this, but first, we need to remember that Mr Green has denied viewing porn on the computer in question – to Parliament. If he did, then he knowingly lied to Parliament – an offence that, if proved, should mean his political career is over.

Could it have been someone else in his office team, then? Well…

That’ll be a ‘no’, then. But let’s remember that, in most offices, being the person logged into a computer when it accessed pornography would be an offence for which the punishment would be the sack.

Okay – back to Ms Dorries and her allegation that other people log in to Westminster computers, using MPs’ details “everyday”.

If she’s right, then she has confessed to a major breach of the Data Protection Act – and went on to implicate “all staff”, opening a can of worms that should be disgorging its contents for a considerable amount of time:

Some of us wanted the Information Commissioner to investigate this allegation of serious and widespread data protection abuses:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/937306421577895936

Others pointed out that most organisations consider it an open-and-shut case that, if a computer is found to have accessed pornography while a particular user was logged in, then that user must be responsible for viewing it and must accept the consequences.

Ms Dorries took issue with this (she is ‘Mad Nad’, after all) – and let herself in for a serial slapdown that bordered on dogpiling.

Apparently Tory MPs like Ms Dorries and Mr Green believe they operate above the law. Interesting, that…

Here comes another useful snippet: Nobody in any MP’s office needs their boss’s full login details to handle emails, as Ms Dorries had claimed. See John O’Shea’s tweet below:

Ah,  but perhaps Parliament doesn’t consider porn viewing during working hours to be as serious a matter as elsewhere? The following suggests not:

Now, some commenters have pointed out that the DWP is just one government department, and the guidelines don’t date back to 2008. Fair enough. But it seems unreasonable to suggest the DWP’s guidelines wouldn’t at least be based on guidelines for all government departments – and it also seems unreasonable to expect those guidelines to have been introduced after computers and the internet were first installed in Parliament/government offices.

What do these revelations mean in the short term? Here are Luke Parks (telling us what the officials will be demanding) and Mark Keogan (explaining that it won’t make a scrap of difference, if Ms Dorries’ claims are accurate):

Meanwhile, other commenters have taken issue with media coverage suggesting that the former police officers brought forward evidence against Mr Green vindictively. Coverage, notably by the BBC, has included interviews with people who suggested that police are disgruntled with the Conservative Party for changes to their pay and conditions that have made it much harder to do their job.

Members of the public disagree vocally:

While the pornography found on the computer wasn’t illegal, and it isn’t illegal to view pornography on an office computer (simply sackable according to the rules of individual organisations, for what should be obvious reasons), Ms Rowe (above) makes the very good point that it’s possible the evidence would have disappeared if the ex-officers in question had gone through official channels. And if he did watch the porn, let’s remember that Mr Green would be guilty of lying to Parliament, and of an offence that would result in the sacking of any office worker. Why should he be exempt from the same treatment?

https://twitter.com/Panopticon6/status/937026997955506176

Yes he is – whether guilty of any of the transgressions alleged about him or not.


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Desperate Tories line up to protect Damian Green as damning evidence emerges over porn claims

[Image: Twitter.]


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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May puts embattled Damian Green in the firing line despite sexual impropriety claims

Damian Green denies allegations that he harassed a young Tory activist [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images].

Theresa May has put a man under investigation for sexual impropriety forward to act as her deputy in Prime Minister’s Question, while she visits Jordan.

Damian Green will deputise for Mrs May in his role as First Secretary of State, even though he has been investigated after serious allegations were made about him – and the investigation has been completed.

But the result of that investigation has not been announced – and it is possible that it never will be.

It is a deeply suspicious state of affairs and one that cannot have escaped the notice of Emily Thornberry, who will be deputising for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The obvious questions are: Isn’t it more appropriate for a senior politician to be suspended while he is under investigation, rather than standing in for the prime minister? What did the investigation find? And why have its findings been withheld?

But will she ask?

Damian Green will deputise for Theresa May at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday despite being under investigation over allegations of sexual impropriety.

The first secretary of state, regarded as May’s de facto deputy, will stand in for the prime minister, who is visiting Jordan. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, will take him on.

Green has been chosen to fill in despite his political future hanging in the balance for several weeks while he is investigated by Sue Gray, the head of propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office.

The senior civil servant has been deliberating over claims that Green harassed a young Conservative activist and downloaded pornography to a work computer. He denies both allegations.

The Cabinet Office declined to say whether the investigation had concluded or whether it would be made public when finished.

Source: Damian Green to stand in for May at PMQs despite conduct inquiry | Politics | The Guardian


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