In Brief

Damian Green urged to stand down following porn allegations

De facto deputy PM among several Tory and Labour MPs accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour

Damian Green, a key ally of Theresa May and the de facto deputy prime minister, has been urged to stand down while an investigation is launched into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” as part of the growing Westminster sexual harassment scandal.

The Sunday Telegraph says Green’s “political future hangs in the balance” after Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed that a wider Cabinet Office inquiry into his conduct would look into allegations that pornography was found on his Commons computer.

 The First Secretary of State has denied the claim that police discovered “extreme” material on his computer during a raid on his Westminster office in 2008 and called the allegations, made by ex-police chief Bob Quick in The Sunday Times, “completely untrue” and “political smears”.

The story adds pressure to the Prime Minister to fire Green, her long-time friend and colleague, who was already under investigation after being accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a young Conservative activist, Kate Maltby, in 2015.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, the Tory backbencher Heidi Allen said someone facing such accusations “in a regular industry” would step aside from their role during an investigation.

“In… the sort of companies I used to work in, that would be completely normal,” she said, telling Green: “If you’re innocent and you have nothing to worry about, then let the process take its natural course, and the right will come out in the end.”

Fellow Tory backbencher Anna Soubry, speaking to BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, said Green should have stepped aside when the first claims made and that his position now appeared to be untenable.

Soubry also said former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon was “responsible for his own downfall” amid fresh claims about his past behaviour, including that he lunged at, and attempted to kiss, journalist Jane Merrick after a lunch in 2003.

Other Tories under investigation for sexual harassment include former Brexit minister Mark Garnier, and MPs Dan Poulter and Charlie Elphicke. The Observer claims allegations against the latter have also been passed to police.

Meanwhile, Labour was embroiled in its own scandal over the weekend, with questions about why suspended MP Kelvin Hopkins was promoted to the shadow cabinet last year despite long-standing allegations of sexual misconduct. The Luton North MP has been accused of, among other things, rubbing himself against an activist and sending her inappropriate text messages.

A formal complaint has also been made against former shadow defence minister, and potential future Labour leader, Clive Lewis, by a women who says he groped her at the party’s annual conference.

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