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.
Her intervention came as Home Secretary Amber Rudd revealed the inquiry into her cabinet colleague would be widened to include allegations pornographic material was found on one of his parliamentary computers
Green has strongly denied the claims, made by ex-Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Bob Quick, 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 already called for Green to step aside.
Green, who sits at the heart of Theresa May’s government, is already under investigation by the Cabinet Secretary after he was accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards a young female Tory activist. He denies the accusation.
Rudd the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this would now be expanded to include the allegations about his computers.
“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 said.
But Rudd sidestepped questions about whether Green should not 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.”
Rudd also suggested new rules should be put in place that would lead to MPs being kicked out of parliament if they were found guilty of sexual harassment.
“I think that is one of the things I would encourage the review to look at,” she said.
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.