World

British official forced to quit after lying about porn

LONDON British Prime Minister Theresa May was left weakened on Wednesday by the resignation of her deputy Damian Green, the latest crack in her government.

Mr Green agreed to step down as first secretary of state after a probe into his conduct found he had acted dishonestly.

Mrs May was "extremely sad" to ask him to step down, describing him as a friend since their time at university and throughout their political careers.

The departure of one of her closest aides is the result of an investigation into Mr Green's conduct after newspaper allegations published last month.

The Sunday Times in Britain reported that pornography was found on his parliamentary computer in 2008, while journalist Kate Maltby claimed Mr Green touched her knee and sent her a suggestive text message in 2015.

In its report, the Cabinet Office said Mr Green had breached the ministerial code when he made "inaccurate and misleading" statements by falsely claiming he was unaware that indecent material had been found on his computer.

London's Metropolitan Police had told Mr Green about the pornography found, the Cabinet Office noted, without drawing conclusions on whether he had viewed the material.

Mr Green apologised in his resignation letter for breaching the ministerial code, while denying he downloaded or viewed pornography in Parliament. He also expressed his regret at the "distress caused" to Ms Maltby.

"I do not recognise the events she described in her article, but I clearly made her feel uncomfortable and for this I apologise," he wrote.

Last month, Mr Michael Fallon had to quit as defence secretary due to allegations of sexual harassment.

His resignation was followed a week later by that of Britain's then overseas aid minister Priti Patel, who stepped down over unauthorised meetings in Israel.

The loss of these ministers in such a short time frame cast doubt over Mrs May's authority, already challenged by divided opinions within her Cabinet over Brexit. - AFP

WORLD