I did not behave inappropriately towards Kate Maltby, insists sacked minister
The columnist’s claims sparked a Cabinet Office inquiry which led to Damian Green’s dismissal over subsequent and separate allegations.
Damian Green has maintained he did not behave inappropriately when he reportedly texted a younger woman saying he felt “compelled” to ask her for a drink after seeing her in a corset in a newspaper.
Prime Minister Theresa May sacked Mr Green from his Cabinet role as her de facto deputy following an inquiry sparked by Kate Maltby, who claimed he “fleetingly” touched her knee during a meeting in a pub in 2015, and a year later sent her the “suggestive” text message after she was pictured in the corset.
The married former first secretary of state was sacked after the Cabinet Office probe found he had made misleading statements about subsequent and separate allegations that police found pornography on computers in his parliamentary office in 2008.
Mr Green repeated his apology to Ms Maltby, who is three decades younger, “if she felt uncomfortable”, but stressed “I didn’t believe I did anything in appropriate, I still don’t”.
Confronted over the corset text, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “That was a joke, I had political discussions with her over a number of years which continued afterwards; at no stage was there any inappropriate behaviour.
“If I, on any occasion, made her feel uncomfortable, I’m sorry about that.”
Responding, Ms Maltby tweeted: “I have one response to Damian Green’s interview on Today & then will get on with my day. I said on Day 1 that I could tell DG didn’t think his behaviour was wrong. That is the problem. Why we need change.”
I have one response to Damian Green's interview on Today & then will get on with my day.— KateMaltby (@KateMaltby) February 20, 2018
I said on Day 1 that I could tell DG didn't think his behaviour was wrong. That is the problem. Why we need change.
Here's what I actually wrote, to which his response was libel lawyers. pic.twitter.com/oAuXoVg1Or
Mr Green left the Government in December, continuing to deny “unfounded and deeply hurtful” claims that he downloaded or viewed porn on his parliamentary computer.
But the Cabinet Office found that two statements Mr Green made on November 4 and 11, 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 acknowledged that issuing the inaccurate statements was a “mistake” and “went slightly too far in a very difficult time”.
“That was a mistake for which I apologised and will apologise again. I shouldn’t have done that, I’ve now left the Government because of that and as I say, I’m now moving on to other projects,” he said.
Mr Green insisted he would not complain about his sacking or being treated unfairly.
“I’m not going to whinge; stuff happens, move on,” he said.
Mr Green said he still considered Mrs May a friend.
“We’ve been at events together and we’ve spoken, yes,” he said.
Asked if they were still friends, Mr Green replied: “Yes.”