Shamed MP Damian Green was already on Downing Street’s radar after complaints were made about his behavior in 2016, it’s been claimed. Theresa May’s right-hand man was forced to resign this week over porn on his office computer.
Green was sacked from cabinet when it became clear that he had broken the ministerial code by giving “misleading” statements, after it emerged pornography had been found on his computer back in 2008.
Further to the porn allegations, Green was accused of sexually harassing writer Kate Maltby. According to Maltby, the pair met for a drink and Green brushed her knee with his hand, and implied he was able to play away from home. The writer later claimed she received a “suggestive” text message.
Maltby’s allegations were found to be “plausible” after an investigation into Green. He has strenuously denied the claims.
Maltby also claims she told top aides at Downing Street about Green’s behavior back in 2016. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that she was not personally aware of any claims of indecent conduct until she read an article reporting the claims from Maltby last month. May insisted that any man or woman must have claims of sexual misconduct “treated seriously.”
Maltby claimed “to the best of my knowledge” that the top tiers of Downing Street were aware of the allegations. “Eventually, I spoke to a very senior and long-serving aide of Theresa May,” she told the BBC.
“I was aware that he was the deputy prime minister and I was aware that Number 10 knew about it.”
Maltby said she wrote the article about her experience because she is set on changing the culture inside parliament, especially when it comes to sex. “This whole story has been about power,” she said.
“Damian Green became a very, very powerful person. I was aware that there seemed to be improper mixing of mentorship and sexual advance within the Conservative Party in his case.”
Maltby said she has never called for Green to be sacked. “My actions in this have never been guided by the quest to claim scalps, to force resignations, to end people’s careers. We need an end to the era in which the sexual exploitation of younger people is the sort of peccadillo of a politician,” she said.
“That is tolerated by those in power and perhaps exploited to enforce party discipline but not to actually do any good.”
Green’s resignation included an open letter to Maltby. He said: “I deeply regret the distress caused to Kate Maltby following her article about me and the reaction to it. I do not recognize the events she described in her article, but I clearly made her feel uncomfortable and for this I apologize.”
A Downing Street source told the BBC: “The Cabinet Office conducted a thorough investigation into a number of allegations about Damian Green. The PM has made it clear that everyone should be able to work in politics without fear or harassment – that is why she has brought forward a new code of conduct for the Conservative Party, and set up a cross-party working group to make recommendations about the Houses of Parliament.”