Damian Green was accused of a new “dirty tricks” campaign last night after text messages he exchanged with the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct were leaked to the media.
The former first secretary of state is at the centre of a fresh row after private communications between himself and Kate Maltby, a Tory activist who publicly accused him of inappropriate advances, were shared with journalists just days after he was forced to resign by Theresa May.
One version of the texts appears to have been selectively edited to suggest Maltby, 31, was pressing Green to meet her without any encouragement from him. In fact, the full text message exchange shows the former de facto deputy prime minister suggesting that they “fix a date soon”.
Damian Green: May’s right-hand man wasn’t strung up by his porn — but his lies
In Theresa May’s battered government, Damian Green was seen as a shrewd political operator with a calm and conciliatory manner.
The prime minister was anguished by the sleaze inquiry into her friend and deputy because he was such a steadying influence in a cabinet more vulnerable than most to division and rivalry.
But as Green reflects this weekend on the ruins of his cabinet career, it seems the qualities for which he was prized deserted him when he needed them most.
He was sacked by the prime minister on Wednesday after a Cabinet Office inquiry found he had lied twice in response to articles in The Sunday Times.
He was the architect of his own demise, responding to claims by a former Metropolitan police assistant commissioner that pornography was found on his parliamentary computers in 2007 with a misjudged mixture of fury and venom.
Kate Maltby: I wanted just one word. So, Mr Green, are you sorry now?
Across the world, 2017 was the year of #MeToo. In America, it started with women speaking out against a man’s abuse of power and led to a national discussion about sexual harassment. In October, I told a story that I hoped would bring that conversation to Westminster. Instead, my story was overtaken by two retired police officers, and talk-show hosts spent two months chatting about porn at work and police hoarding private data.
It ended with the resignation of the de facto deputy prime minister, a resignation that I had never publicly demanded, stemming from behaviour for which he could have simply apologised on day one.
On October 31, I asserted in The Times that Damian Green had made sexual advances while offering me career advice and discussing the possibility of helping me become a Tory candidate. Last week Green accepted that, although he did not recognise the events as I had described them, “he clearly made [me] uncomfortable, and for that I apologise”. The prime minister told him he was right to do so.
Damian Green gropes for pity but he is not the victim here
The former first minister must accept that he was the architect of his downfall
Damian Green’s goose was cooked long before Christmas even though he remains frozen in denial about his fate. The past two months have been an important character test of the prime minister’s deputy — one that he has failed.
I imagine his sense of grievance has only swelled with the under-the-counter acquittal of other MPs of “inappropriate conduct” in his wake. Arguably, the behaviour of Stephen Crabb, the former cabinet minister who texted a young woman who had applied for a job in his office that he “wanted to have sex with her” was more gross.