Courtesy of the Telegraph, Damian being unpleasant to the last.
Damian Green is facing calls to stand down as an MP after being accused of a “dirty tricks” campaign against the woman whose complaints of sexual misconduct triggered his downfall. Text messages between Mr Green and Kate Maltby, the writer whose accusations led to a Cabinet Office inquiry into his behaviour, were leaked to the media over the weekend in an apparent attempt to smear Miss Maltby. One leak appeared to have been deliberately edited to suggest Miss Maltby was trying to arrange a meeting with Mr Green unsolicited, when the full exchange actually shows that the former first secretary of state told her they should “fix a date soon”. Mr Green vehemently denies leaking the text messages but opponents said that even if someone else was briefing against Miss Maltby on his behalf it made him “unfit to be an MP”. Mr Green, 61, was told to resign by Theresa May last Wednesday after the Cabinet Office inquiry found he had broken the Ministerial Code of Conduct by twice lying over what he knew about pornography being found on a computer seized from his office by police in 2008.
On Sunday Miss Maltby added to her claims by saying that she spoke out because she was aware of two other women with “more serious” allegations about Mr Green who were “vulnerable” and did not want to come forward. In his resignation letter, Mr Green apologised to Miss Maltby for the distress he had caused her, but Miss Maltby faced fresh anguish yesterday because of the new leaked texts. According to The Mail on Sunday, in February this year - five months after she had first complained to Downing Street about Mr Green’s behaviour - she messaged Mr Green to say she would 'wager a good few bottles' that he was an unnamed Minister who had been the source of a political story. Mr Green responded that he never reveals sources and Miss Maltby wrote: “Ha! Hope to catch up when things calm down.”
According to The Sunday Times, a leaked version of the exchange omitted his response, which said: “They never do, so let's fix a date soon!” Conservative MP and former minister Anna Soubry said "any attempt to smear or trash" Miss Maltby was "wrong and shameful". Another Conservative MP told The Sunday Times the leak “smacks of a dirty tricks campaign”. Miss Maltby said "only Damian Green or his allies" could have leaked the texts and said she was "amazed that he is still continuing to behave in this way”. Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “If Damian Green, or someone acting on his behalf, has briefed newspapers to smear Kate Maltby then there can be no doubt about his unfitness to serve - not just as a minister but as an MP.” A friend of Mr Green told The Telegraph the leak had not come from Mr Green, but added: “The texts do show that Damian and Kate Maltby were friends and nothing more.”
In an article for The Sunday Times Miss Maltby said she had originally spoken out to support two other women who claimed to have had similar experiences with Mr Green. She said: "In the days before I made my allegation public, I became aware of two young women who were considering making allegations against him. Their positions were more vulnerable, their allegations more serious. “I knew that people in Downing Street knew my story was true and I believed that if I was the first to go public, they would ensure Green apologised and made a commitment to changing his behaviour."
A spokesman for Green said he was "not in a position" to respond to the claims without knowing the identity of the alleged accusers. The Cabinet Office inquiry, led by Sue Gray, its director of propriety and ethics, found Miss Maltby's account to be "plausible" but ruled that it was "not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on the appropriateness" of Mr Green’s behaviour. Friends of Mr Green have said he is not ready to retire and hopes to make a political comeback by helping the Government form policy on key issues such as social mobility.