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Fate of Damian Green in hands of ex-Newry pub landlady

By Alison Fleming

A former pub landlady from Northern Ireland will be adjudicating on the fate of politician Damian Green in a Cabinet Office enquiry.

Sue Gray (60) has been described as one of the most feared and respected officials in Whitehall.

But during the 1980s she ran a pub called The Cove near Newry with her husband Bill Conlon, during a career break from her civil service role.

Ms Gray will now be central to the Whitehall inquiry ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May into claims against the man who is in effect her deputy.

A Cabinet Office inquiry into Mr Green's conduct began earlier this month after Kate Maltby told The Times that 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 inquiry was widened last week after the Sunday Times reported that a statement prepared by ex-Met assistant commissioner Bob Quick for a separate review had discussed the alleged discovery of pornography on one of Mr Green's parliamentary computers during a 2008 police investigation into leaks.

Following the Sunday Times report, Mr Green said the story was "completely untrue" and the allegations amounted to "false, disreputable political smears".

He added: "More importantly, the police have never suggested to me that improper material was found on my parliamentary computer, nor did I have a 'private' computer, as has been claimed."

Ms Gray is Director General of the Government's Propriety and Ethics Team, which oversees the provision of advice to all government departments on standards and ethics issues, corporate governance in public bodies, and makes and manages public appointments. The role is to ensure the highest standards within government.

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