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- Damian Green to be investigated by the Cabinet Office’s head of ethics over allegations of inappropriate behaviour. The first secretary of state continues to deny the allegations made by writer and Conservative activist Kate Maltby. Michael Fallon became the first Cabinet minister to resign on Wednesday night following the Westminster sexual harassment scandal. Theresa May calls a meeting of Westminster party leaders to tackle the scandal.
LONDON – Damian Green is being investigated by the Cabinet Office’s head of propriety and ethics after allegations were made that he inappropriately behaved to a female writer and Conservative activist.
The investigation into the first secretary of state will be commanded by Cabinet Office official Sue Gray and will find whether Green broke the ministerial code as the sexual harassment scandal in Westminster grows.
On Wednesday night Defence Secretary Michael Fallon became the first cabinet minister to resign following the scandal.
Gray is also conducting an investigation into international trade minister Mark Garnier, who admitted asking his personal assistant to buy him sex toys.
Green, who is effectively Prime Minister Theresa May’s deputy, was alleged to have made inappropriate advances towards Maltby before he was a cabinet minister, Maltby claims in an article for The Times.
He denies the accusations and is understood to have instructed libel lawyers to contest Maltby’s allegations.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry said on Wednesday that Green should be suspended for the “very serious” allegations.
Soubry told Sky News: “I would say there is an investigation, by some mechanism you stand out, you remove yourself from this position, until the conclusion of that investigation. There will be a reason why he is still there; it might be his own conscience.”
However, business minister Margot James said Maltby’s claims did not warrant “anyone’s resignation, temporary or otherwise.”
The investigation was previously to be conducted by cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, but was replaced by Gray after questions were raised about his close relationship with Green, the minister for the cabinet office.
May calls crisis meeting of party leaders
The prime minister has called a meeting of all of Westminster’s party leaders on Monday to tackle the sexual harassment scandal.
May told MPs: “I’ve written to all party leaders inviting them to a meeting early next week so we can discuss a common, transparent, independent grievance procedure for all those working in Parliament.
“We have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here to contribute to public life is treated with respect.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that he would take part, and added: “We need better protections for all in this house.”
A dossier detailing allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by Conservative MPs and Cabinet ministers has been circulating in Westminster this week.
The document, seen in full by Business Insider, contains mostly unverified claims, ranging from private acts between consenting adults to more serious allegations of unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment. A number of well-known MPs are included in the dossier.