20/02/2018 10:00 GMT | Updated 20/02/2018 10:40 GMT

Damian Green Maintains He Did Not Behave Inappropriately Towards Kate Maltby

Former first secretary of state says text message was a 'joke'.

PA Wire/PA Images

Damian Green has said he still does not believe he acted inappropriately towards Conservative activist Kate Maltby.

In his first interview since he was fired from the cabinet, the former secretary of state said the text message he sent Maltby after she appeared in a corset in a newspaper, was a “joke”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Tuesday morning he said: “I didn’t believe I did anything inappropriate, still don’t. If she was feeling uncomfortable then I am sorry about that.”

Green, who was Theresa May’s de facto deputy, was sacked by the prime minister after he was found to have wrongly claimed he did not know about the existence of porn on a computer in his parliamentary office.

He said this morning the the inaccurate statement which led to a Cabinet Office investigation deciding he had breached the ministerial code went “slightly too far in a very difficult time”.

Green added of his sacking: “I’m not going to whinge, stuff happens, move on. All ministers hold their positions at the pleasure of the prime minister and I did break the ministerial code.”

Maltby, who also accused Green of touching her knee, said in response:  “I said on day one that I could tell Damian Green didn’t think his behaviour was wrong. That is the problem. Why we need change.”

Green, who has known May since university, was seen as the prime minister’s closest ally in government. Asked if he was still friends with the prime minister, Green said: “Yes.”