Damian Green, the First Secretary of State and Theresa May's de facto deputy, has resigned after the culmination of a Cabinet Office investigation into his conduct.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Green apologised for making misleading statements about a police inquiry into pornography found on a computer in his office in 2008.
Ms May said she was asking him to quit "with deep regret". Here are the letters in full:
Damian Green to Theresa May
Dear Prime Minister,
I regret that I've been asked to resign from the Government following breaches of the Ministerial Code, for which I apologise. It has been a privilege to serve in your government both as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and as First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office.
It was also a great pleasure to work with you in the Home Office both as Minister for Immigration and as minister for policing, criminal justice and victims. Your years as Home Secretary were a model of reforming institutions in the interests of the wider public.
I share and support your vision of a country that works for everyone, using Conservative policies to help those who have for too long been disadvantaged. In particular I am pleased to have published the Race Disparity Audit and to have started the government on a road to a reformed social care system.
From the outset I have been clear that I did not download or view pornography on my Parliamentary computers. I accept that I should have been clear in my press statements that police lawyers talked to my lawyers in 2008 about the pornography on the computers, and that the police raised it with me in a subsequent phone call in 2013. I apologise that my statements were misleading on this point. The unfounded and deeply hurtful allegations that were being levelled at me were distressing both to me and my family and it is right that these are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police's professional standards department.
I am grateful that the Cabinet Secretary has concluded that my conduct as a minister has generally been both professional and proper. I deeply regret the distress caused to Kate Maltby following her article about me and the reaction to it. I do not recognise the events she described in her article, but I clearly made her feel uncomfortable and for this I apologise.
Finally I would like to give heartfelt thanks to my Parliamentary colleagues and my Ashford constituents for the huge support they have shown me in recent weeks. I will continue to argue for the modernising conservatism I have always believed in.
Theresa May to Damian Green
I am extremely sad to be writing this letter. We have been friends and colleagues throughout our whole political lives - from our early days at university, entering the House of Commons at the same election, and serving alongside each other both in Opposition and in Government. As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and as First Secretary of State, you have brought great wisdom, good sense, and a commitment to helping the most vulnerable to my Cabinets in this Parliament and the last. I have greatly appreciated your hard work and the contribution you have made to my team, just as I did at the Home Office, where you served as Immigration Minister and Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, helping to drive through important but often difficult reforms.
Like you, I know the vast majority of our police to be diligent and honourable public servants, working hard to protect the public and maintain law and order. But I shared the concerns raised from across the political spectrum when your Parliamentary office was raided in 2008 when you were a Shadow Home Office Minister holding the then Labour Government to account. And I share the concerns, raised once again from across the political spectrum, at the comments made by a former officer involved in that case in recent weeks. I am glad that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has condemned that, made clear that police officers' duty of confidentiality endures after they leave the force, and that the Metropolitan Police's professional standards department are reviewing the comments which have been made.
When allegations were raised about your personal conduct, I asked the Cabinet Secretary to establish as far as possible the facts of the case and provide advice on whether or not there had been a breach of the Ministerial Code. He has produced a thorough report which concludes that your conduct as a minister has generally been both professional and proper.
You have expressed your regret for the distress caused to Ms Maltby following her article about you and the reaction to it. I appreciate that you do not recognise the events Ms Maltby described in the article, but you do recognise that you made her feel uncomfortable and it is right that you have apologised.
I know that you share my determination to ensure that everyone who wants to play their part in our political life should feel able to do so - without fear or harassment, and knowing they can speak out if they need to. Equally, it is right that those who put themselves forward to serve the public should also be accorded the respect of a private life within the law.
I have also carefully considered the report's conclusions in relation to two statements you made on 4 and 11 November which you now accept were inaccurate and misleading. This falls short of the Seven Principles of Public Life and is a breach of the Ministerial Code - a conclusion which has been endorsed by Sir Alex Allan, the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests. While I can understand the considerable distress caused to you by some of the allegations which have been made in recent weeks, I know that you share my commitment to maintaining the high standards which the public demands of Ministers of the Crown.
It is therefore with deep regret, and enduring gratitude for the contribution you have made over many years, that I asked you to resign from the Government and have accepted your resignation.
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