Damian Green’s computer records during five years in government are being checked following claims that ‘extreme’ pornography was found on a machine in his office while in opposition.
Sue Gray, director-general of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet Office, is understood to have asked officials whether there is any evidence of attempts to access pornography from computers used by Mr Green since he first became a minister in 2010.
Theresa May’s deputy has been under investigation since November 1 following disputed claims by Tory activist Kate Maltby that he made unwanted advances towards her.
Damian Green’s computer records during five years in government are being checked
But the sleaze inquiry has now been widened to look at claims by a former police chief that pornography was found on a computer in Mr Green’s Commons office during a controversial raid in 2008.
Mrs Gray, who is leading the sleaze inquiry, has interviewed Mr Green about both Miss Maltby’s claim and the alleged pornography.
She has also interviewed a string of his former staff in a bid to ensure that no further claims about his conduct are set to emerge. The review is said to have turned up nothing.
Mr Green, the First Secretary of State, is facing investigation into whether he breached the ministerial code, which governs the conduct of ministers.
The pornography claims are outside the scope of the code because they took place before Mr Green was a minister.
Sue Gray is understood to have asked officials whether there is any evidence of attempts to access pornography from computers used by Mr Green
But a Whitehall source said Mrs Gray also asked for checks to be made to establish whether concerns had ever been raised about pornography being accessed by computers used by Mr Green in government.
The source said Mrs Gray had a duty to be ‘thorough’.
Mr Green served as a Home Office minister from 2010-14 before joining the Cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary last year. He was appointed as Mrs May’s effective deputy after the election in June this year.
A source close to the minister last night said he had no knowledge of other computer records being accessed, but said Mr Green flatly denied downloading computer pornography.
Mr Green denies all knowledge of the material allegedly found on a computer in his office almost a decade ago. He says he was never informed of the apparent find at the time.
And he accused ex-Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Bob Quick of a ‘disreputable political smear’ after the claim leaked out.
Mr Quick faced intense criticism over the raid on Mr Green’s office in 2008, which was conducted without a search warrant. The raid was launched as part of an investigation into the leak of secret Home Office documents.
An official review of the raid and Mr Green’s arrest later found it was ‘not proportionate’.
Reports claim that pornographic material was accessed on an ‘almost daily basis’, sometimes for up to eight hours a day.
Theresa May’s deputy has been under investigation since November 1 following disputed claims by Tory activist Kate Maltby that he made unwanted advances towards her
The material is said to be so extreme that it would have been illegal if it had been downloaded a few weeks later when new laws on violent pornography were brought in.
But Mr Green shared the office with at least two other staff and it is unclear whether police ever established who had downloaded the material.
Mr Green also denies allegations made by Miss Maltby in a newspaper article. The Tory activist, who is 30 years his junior, claims he touched her knee ‘fleetingly’ during lunch in a London pub in 2015, and later sent her a suggestive text message.
Mr Green has angrily denied the claims. Allies say other text messages show the pair enjoyed a friendly relationship after the alleged incident.
Any finding of impropriety by Mrs Gray could force Mr Green’s resignation. His loss would be a major blow to the Prime Minister, who has already been hit by the departure of Michael Fallon and Priti Patel in recent weeks.
Mrs May, a university friend of Mr Green, is reported to have sounded out former Tory leader Lord Hague as a possible replacement, only to be told he is not interested in the job.
Amber Rudd could also be asked to act as Mrs may’s deputy on top of her duties at the Home Office.