Damian Green Sacked From Government Role
21 December 2017, 12:44
Ashford MP Damian Green has been sacked from his Government role as First Secretary of State after a report found he made "misleading" statements about allegations that police found pornography on computers in his parliamentary office in 2008.
Mr Green denies "unfounded and deeply hurtful" claims he downloaded or viewed porn on his parliamentary computer.
But an investigation by the Cabinet Office found two statements he made last month, which suggested he was not aware indecent material was found in a 2008 police raid, were "inaccurate and misleading" and breached the ministerial code.
Mr Green's sacking follows the November resignations of Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon as defence secretary amid Westminster sleaze allegations, and international development secretary Priti Patel over undisclosed meetings in Israel.
Mrs May said she was "extremely sad" to ask her close ally Mr Green to resign but stressed his behaviour "falls short" of the Seven Principles of Public Life.
It is understood the PM received the Cabinet Office report on Wednesday, before consulting the independent adviser on ministers' interests, Sir Alex Allan, who agreed Mr Green breached the ministerial code.
Mrs May then summoned Mr Green to Downing Street on Wednesday evening to ask him to resign.
It is understood she is not planning to replace him until the New Year at the earliest.
In a letter to Mr Green, Mrs May said: "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 high standards which the public demands of ministers of the Crown.
"It is therefore with deep regret, and enduring gratitude for the contribution you have made over many years, that I asked you to resign from the Government and have accepted your resignation."
Mr Green said in a letter to the PM: "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 statements 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.
"The unfounded and deeply hurtful allegations that were being levelled at me were distressing both to me and my family and it is right that these are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police's professional standards department."