May launches probe into inappropriate behaviour claims against cabinet minister

Also accused of inaction amid Westminster sexual abuse allegations

Prime Minister Theresa May has launched a top-level Whitehall investigation into allegations by a female journalist that first secretary of state, Damian Green, behaved inappropriately towards her.

The accusations have been made by freelance columnist Kate Maltby.

Writing in The Times today, Maltby wrote that Green had invited her for a drink in a Waterloo pub in 2015 during which she “felt a fleeting hand against my knee”. She also said that a year later, Green sent her a “suggestive” message after she was pictured wearing a corset in the newspaper.

Green, who is effectively deputy prime minister, denies making “any sexual advances” and calls the allegations “deeply hurtful”.

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed to Sky News: “An allegation has been made in relation to the first secretary of state, which he strongly denies. The Prime Minister has referred the matter to the Cabinet Secretary to establish the facts and report back as soon as possible.”

Just as more claims of sexual harassment in Westminster are being reported, May has now been accused of ignoring warnings that party whips used evidence about sexual abuse to demand loyalty from MPs, reports state.

Earlier today, Labour MP Lisa Nandy told during PMQs that she had warned May three years ago about evidence that abuse in parliament was being covered up: “On three occasions I asked her to act and on three occasions she did not.”

May said she would look back at what Nandy had told her and that accusations of abuse should be dealt with by the police not the party whips: “I am very clear that we will take action against those where there are allegations,” she said.

 

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