Should Theresa May get rid of Damian Green?
By Joe Harker
Damian Green is the First Secretary of State in the UK government, basically meaning that he's Theresa May's second in command. There are no specific powers or responsibilities attached to the role, but if there is no Deputy Prime Minister then the First Secretary of State steps in if the Prime Minister is unavailable.
Green filled in for May at Prime Minister's Questions but he has been under fire recently for allegations of viewing pornography at work and making inappropriate advances towards a young Conservative party activist, the latter of which he denies.
Neil Lewis, a former Scotland Yard detective told the BBC that he was "shocked" at the amount of pornography that was on a computer seized from Green's offices. The computer was taken during a 2008 inquiry and "thousands" of pornographic images were on it. Green says he has never watched or downloaded porn on the computer, but Lewis said an internet history check showed that porn had been viewed "extensively". He said that they "can't put fingers on a keyboard" and prove that it was Green that accessed and downloaded the porn, but said there was "no doubt whatsoever" that it was the First Secretary of State. He said: "The computer was in Mr Green's office, on his desk, logged in, his account, his name.
"In between browsing pornography, he was sending emails from his account, his personal account, reading documents. It was ridiculous to suggest anybody else could have done it."
The Metro reports that Green's friends were "gobsmacked" that a former police officer was sharing information with the BBC and "outraged" that the BBC would use the information. A spokesperson for Green responded to the claims and said: "It would be inappropriate for Mr Green to comment on these allegations while the Cabinet Office investigation is ongoing; however, from the outset he has been very clear that he never watched or downloaded pornography on the computers seized from his office.
"He maintains his innocence of these charges and awaits the outcome of the investigation."
The allegations put pressure on Green and by extension Theresa May, who faces a decision over sacking him. The Times believes the issue facing the Prime Minister is whether her government can cope with the allegations or not. If she judges that they can then Green might stay in his position, where his ability to wield power is minimal and wait for the scandal to pass by. But if she decides that the government cannot allow such allegations to continue then Green's fate may be all but sealed. He is seen as one of the "bad apple" MPs and May will soon have to decide whether to remove him for fear that he spoils the whole bunch.