Damian Green says computer porn allegations are ‘political smears’

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Damian Green said the allegations were from a “tainted and untrustworthy source”

Theresa May’s most senior minister has denied a claim that police found pornography on a computer in his office in Westminster during a raid in 2008.

First Secretary of State Damian Green said the ex-police chief’s allegations in the Sunday Times were “completely untrue” and “political smears”.

And he said police had never told him that any improper material had been found on his parliamentary computer.

It comes amid a growing sexual misconduct scandal in Westminster.

‘Humiliated’

On Sunday further details emerged about allegations against Sir Michael Fallon, who this week resigned as defence secretary over his behaviour.

The Observer reported that he resigned after journalist Jane Merrick told Downing Street he had lunged at her and attempted to kiss her on the lips in 2003 after they had lunched together.

Ms Merrick, who was a 29-year-old reporter at the Daily Mail at the time, told the Observer she “shrank away in horror” before returning to her office in the press gallery.

“I felt humiliated, ashamed. Was I even guilty that maybe I had led him on in some way by drinking with him?” she said.

“After years of having a drink with so many other MPs who have not acted inappropriately towards me, I now know I was not.”

Friends of Sir Michael have not denied the allegation but the BBC understands that his ministerial career ended because he could not guarantee that there would be no further revelations after he admitted repeatedly touching another journalist’s knee at a conference dinner 15 years ago.

‘Character assassination’

The allegation regarding Mr Green, who is effectively the prime minister’s deputy, relates to an inquiry into Home Office leaks which briefly led to Mr Green’s arrest in 2008.

The Sunday Times reports that the man who led the inquiry, former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, had written a statement stating that his officers had found pornographic material on the computer from Mr Green’s office.

But Mr Green said: “The allegations about the material and computer, now nine years old, are false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty to keep the details of police investigations confidential, and amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination.”

Mr Quick has been unavailable for comment but the former anti-terror chief is set to give evidence to a Whitehall inquiry launched into Mr Green’s behaviour after a woman alleged that he made inappropriate advances to her.

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Tory MP Charlie Elphicke is being investigated after “serious allegations” were referred to the police

The Cabinet Office inquiry was triggered after journalist Kate Maltby, who is three decades younger than Mr Green, told the Times he “fleetingly” touched her knee during a meeting in a Waterloo pub in 2015 and a year later sent her a “suggestive” text message after she was pictured wearing a corset in the newspaper.

Mr Green said any allegation that he made sexual advances to Ms Maltby was “untrue (and) deeply hurtful”.

The claims come as the Conservatives investigate MP Charlie Elphicke after “serious allegations” were referred to the police, and international trade minister Mark Garnier over whether he broke ministerial rules.

Details of the nature of the allegations against Mr Elphicke have not been provided by the Conservatives but he denies any wrongdoing. Mr Garnier, who admitted asking his secretary to buy sex toys, has said that his behaviour did not constitute harassment.

Labour, meanwhile, is investigating MP Clive Lewis over a claim he groped a woman and MP Kelvin Hopkins over an allegation of sexual harassment. Both deny the claims.

The party has also launched an independent investigation into the claim that Labour activist Bex Bailey was raped at a party event and discouraged from reporting the attack by a senior party official.

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Jeremy Corbyn will use a speech to hit out at Westminster’s “warped and degrading culture” of sexual harassment

On Saturday, a Scottish government minister resigned over previous actions which he said were considered “inappropriate”.

Mark McDonald, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside, said he was stepping down from his role as childcare and early years minister.

Later, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will hit out at Westminster’s “warped and degrading” culture of sexual harassment during a speech at his party’s North West conference in Blackpool on Sunday.

He will say: “Faced with the ongoing revelations about sexual harassment, we must make this a turning point and a moment of real change.

“We must say ‘no more’. We must no longer allow women, or anyone else for that matter, to be abused in the workplace or anywhere else.”

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