Damian Green should stand aside form his job as first secretary of state while an investigation into his conduct is carried out, a Tory MP has said.
Heidi Allen told ITV’s Peston on Sunday it would be “completely normal” in any other industry for someone to be suspended. “If you are innocent you have nothing to worry about,” she said.
Green, who sits at the heart of Theresa May’s government, is already under investigation after he was accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards a young female Tory activist. He denies the accusation.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has revealed the inquiry into her cabinet colleague will be widened to include fresh allegations.
“I know that the Cabinet Office is going to be looking at this tomorrow along with the wider inquiry about Damian and I do think that we shouldn’t rush to allege anything until that inquiry has taken place,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.
Green has denied the claims, made by ex-Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Bob Quick in The Sunday Times, that pornography was found his office in Westminster during a raid in 2008.
In a strongly worded statement, the de facto deputy prime minister said the allegation was “completely untrue” and “political smears”.
Anna Soubry, another Tory backbencher, has also called for Green to step aside.
Rudd sidestepped questions about whether Green should have to stand aside while the inquiry was underway.
“He strongly denies the allegations. Let’s give him time and the inquiry time to put it straight,” she told Sky News. “I really look forward to him clearing his name.”
Green said Quick was “tainted and untrustworthy source” and “no newspaper has printed this story due to the complete lack of any evidence”.
“I’ve been aware for some years that the discredited former assistant commissioner Bob Quick has tried to cause me political damage by leaking false information about the raid on my parliamentary office,” he said.
“It is well-known that Quick, who was forced to apologise for alleging that the Conservative Party was trying to undermine him, harbours deep resentment about his press treatment during the time of my investigation.
“More importantly, the police have never suggested to me that improper material was found on my parliamentary computer, nor did I have a ‘private’ computer, as has been claimed.
“The allegations about the material and computer, now nine years old, are false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty to keep the details of police investigations confidential, and amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination.”
Both the Conservatives and Labour have been rocked by a series of sexual harassment claims over the last week.
Several MPs have been suspended by their parties and Sir Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary over allegations he behaved inappropriately towards women.
Rudd described as “disgusting” an incident in which Sir Michael is alleged to have lunged at a journalist and tried to kiss her on the lips.
The comments came after Jane Merrick alleged in The Observer that the incident took place after a 2003 lunch when she was a 29-year-old junior political reporter.
On Sunday morning Daniel Kawczynski became the third Tory MP to be referred to the party’s disciplinary committee.
He faces allegations he pressured a young woman who worked in parliament into meeting a wealthy businessman. Kawczynski denies anything inappropriate took place.
Tory MP Dan Poulter also under investigation by the party’s new disciplinary panel, following allegations he behaved inappropriately towards women in Westminster. He denies the allegations.
And former Tory cabinet minister Stephen Crabb has admitted writing some “pretty outrageous things” in text messages to a young woman who applied for a job in his office.