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Damian Green: The PM's university friend and close political ally

Damian Green: The PM's university friend and close political ally

Damian Green has been a confidant of the prime minister for many years
Damian Green was one of the prime minister's closest allies in government. A university friend, he entered Parliament at the same time as Theresa May.But now he has been sacked from the cabinet after an investigation found he breached the ministerial code.
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Mr Green was a leading Conservative figure for 20 years and had been a friend of the prime minister since they were at Oxford university together in the 1970s.They entered Parliament in 1997.Later, he served in the Home Office during the coalition government.
After she became Tory leader in June 2016, Mrs May brought the 61-year old into her cabinet and a year later named him as her effective deputy by giving him the title of first secretary of state. Since then, the former journalist, who campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum, has been a vital cog in a government beset by divisions and infighting over Brexit.
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He has played a substantial role behind the scenes chairing key cabinet committees and, more publicly, deputised for Mrs May at Prime Minister's Questions as recently as last week. He spent much of his early political career in the backroom, but the MP for Ashford in Kent has twice hit the headlines in a big way over the past decade. His political future has been in question since journalist and Conservative activist Kate Maltby suggested, in an article in November for the Times, he had behaved inappropriately towards her.The 31-year old claimed the minister "fleetingly" touched her knee in a pub in 2015 and in 2016 sent her a "suggestive" text message which left her feeling "awkward, embarrassed and professionally compromised".Mr Green, who is an acquaintance of the journalist's parents, said the claims were "hurtful" and "completely false".But they were referred to the Cabinet Office for investigation by a top civil servant - who is examining other claims that emerged during a swirl of allegations about harassment and other misconduct at Westminster.
As an opposition spokesman, he was embroiled in a police inquiry into the leak of government documents
The inquiry was subsequently expanded to consider claims that legal pornography was found on a computer removed from Mr Green's office in the House of Commons in 2008.The alleged presence of pornographic material did not emerge until several years later, the police not having investigated it at the time nor told Mr Green that it had been found. Mr Green, who is married to barrister Alicia Collinson and has two grown-up daughters, has always strenuously denied that he either viewed or downloaded any pornographic material.He suggested the officer who led the inquiry, former counter-terrorism chief Bob Quick, had his own agenda and was "discredited" after having to resign following inadvertently disclosing information that potentially compromised an operation in 2009.Although it took Mr Green a comparatively long while to make it to the cabinet table, he is no stranger to being close to the centre of power - giving up a successful career in newspapers and broadcasting to work as an official in John Major's Downing Street in the early 1990s. The Welsh-born politician was on the Tories' pro-European wing, having refused to rule out the UK one day joining the euro, long after many of his colleagues had done so. But unlike EU diehards such as Ken Clarke and Lord Heseltine, who also campaigned on the remain side in the 2016 referendum, he has been on something of a journey and has taken a more pragmatic approach to Brexit.
Damian Green
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