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Damian Green urged to stand aside as First Secretary while inquiry into conduct continues

By Paul Francis

Damian Green MP is being urged to stand aside from his role as First Secretary while an inquiry is underway into claims about his conduct.

The Ashford MP faced fresh allegations over the weekend concerning a claim that pornographic material was found on a computer in his office eight years ago.

Mr Green is due to be quizzed about that and about whether he behaved inappropriately with a female journalist as part of a cabinet inquiry.

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Ashford MP Damian Green

Ashford MP Damian Green

He has been urged by fellow MPs to consider standing down from the role that effectively makes him deputy Prime Minister while the inquiry took place. He has firmly denied all the claims made against him.

Conservative MP Heidi Allen, said that 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.

"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,” she told ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

Another Tory MP, Anna Soubry, said that he should have considered standing aside as “we are pretty much having trial by the newspapers. This is not acceptable.”

"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" - Heidi Allen

Mr Green said the allegations about pornographic material being found on a computer in his office eight years ago were were "false", describing them as "disreputable political smears" and "amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination".

The claims date back to 2008 when there was an inquiry into leaks of Home Office material that led police to search Mr Green’s office.

Bob Quick, the former Met Police officer who led the 2008 inquiry, said he would give evidence to the cabinet investigation.

Prime Minister Theresa May is due to hold meetings with the leaders of other parties today about introducing new processes for those working in Parliament to register concerns or complaints about harassment or inappropriate behaviour.

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