Procurement minister Damian Green resigns over porn scandal lie - Supply Management
Damian Green was appointed minister for the Cabinet Office in June
Damian Green was appointed minister for the Cabinet Office in June

Procurement minister Damian Green resigns over porn scandal lie

21 December 2017

Damian Green, the minister in charge of procurement and one of prime minister Theresa May’s closest political allies, has been forced to resign after an internal investigation found he had breached the ministerial code. 

Green said he was “asked to quit” after he was found to have made two “inaccurate and misleading” statements over what he knew about claims pornography was found on his office computer in 2008.

May appointed Green as first secretary of state after a post-election cabinet reshuffle six months ago in a bid to shore up her premiership after an unsuccessful bet on a June snap election lost her party its majority in Parliament. 

The role covered government procurement and public sector efficiency and reform. 

But Green was thrown into the media’s spotlight last month when retired Metropolitan Police detective Neil Lewis told the Sunday Times that in 2008 police had found “thousands” of pornographic thumbnails on Green’s office computer during a raid, which was part of an inquiry into government leaks.

In response, Green denied that he had either downloaded or viewed pornography on a computer removed from his Commons office in 2008 and said the police had “never suggested to me that improper material was found”.

He added that the allegations were “false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty” and “little more than an unscrupulous character assassination”.

An internal inquiry, requested by May and conducted by cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood, concluded that Green’s denials were “inaccurate and misleading”.

The inquiry’s summary, distributed by May’s Downing Street office, found he had breached rules governing the behaviour of ministers and that Met police lawyers had in fact informed him in 2008 about their initial discovery and raised the matter with him in a phone call in 2013. 

In a letter responding to his resignation, May said she was “extremely sad” about losing Green from government and it was “with deep regret and enduring gratitude” that she asked him to resign from the government.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was clear Green had “lied” and it was right that Cabinet ministers were held to the “very highest standards of conduct”, but added that Green had been “pushed into a situation” where he said something he “didn’t mean to say”.

Responding to speculation over who May could appoint as her replacement first secretary of state, Hunt said cabinet appointments “are a matter for the prime minister”.

The sacking means May has lost three Cabinet ministers in less than two months, after defence secretary Michael Fallon quit for unspecified conduct and international development secretary Priti Patel resigned after holding undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials.

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