Belfast Telegraph

Damian Green resigns cabinet post after porn claims

By Jonathan Bell

Damian Green has resigned as First Secretary of State, amid allegations pornographic material was found on a Commons computer in 2008.

He will leave his role after independent adviser on ministers' interests, Sir Alex Allan, found he had breached the ministerial code by making inaccurate and misleading statements about what he knew about pornography found on his computer.

As as result Prime Minister Theresa May - a life-long friend to the Tory - asked for his resignation.

Mr Green has described allegations that he downloaded or viewed pornography on his parliamentary computer as "unfounded and deeply hurtful", but admitted he had not been clear in his past statements on the issue.

Mr Green said he "regrets" having been asked to resign and apologised for breaches of the ministerial code.

In a letter to the PM, he went on: "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."

Mr Green, the defacto deputy Prime Minister, has been under scrutiny after a retired Scotland Yard detective Neil Lewis told the BBC he was “shocked” at the volume of porn found in a 2008 raid on Mr Green’s Westminster office, and had “no doubt whatsoever” it was amassed by the Tory MP.

Mr Green, who is the subject of a Cabinet Office inquiry into alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a young female activist, has denied looking at or downloading porn on the computer.

He attended the DUP party conference in November and was one of the key architects in brokering the confidence and supply deal between the Conservatives and the Northern Ireland party.

After the allegations emerged the Conservative minister was supported by the DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds.

The North Belfast MP said it was "wrong" for the police officer to make the statement saying that if the minister was forced to resign it would set a dangerous precedent.

“Every single individual is entitled to due process under the law. If we get into a situation where Damian Green is forced to resign, then this sets a very, very dangerous precedent indeed," he said on BBC Any Questions earlier this month.

“When that happens to a senior politician, then nobody is going to speak up for the ordinary individual in future, if that’s what happens.”

He added: "People are entitled to privacy, so long as they are not breaking the law. It is not for individual police officers to decide what should or should not be deemed worthy of publication.”

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