UK’s May ‘had to sack’ close ally in government

December 21, 2017
FILE - An Aug. 10, 2017 file photo of First Secretary of State, Damian Green, speaking in London. Damian Green has been asked to resign from the Government by Prime Minister, Theresa May, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, and admitted he made "misleading" statements about allegations pornography was found on his Commons computer in 2008. (David Cheskin/PA via AP, File)

LONDON (AP) — A senior member of the British cabinet said Thursday that British Prime Minister Theresa May had no choice but to dismiss her close ally for making misleading statements during an investigation into pornography found on his computer.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC radio that May had a “heavy heart” when she forced Damian Green, her de facto deputy, to resign after an investigation found he had lied about being informed about pornography that had been found on an office computer nearly a decade ago.

“On this occasion, very, very sadly and I know with a very heavy heart, the Prime Minister took the decision that she had to,” Hunt said. “I am sure that she didn’t want him to go.”

Green, who strongly supported May’s Brexit stance, resigned late Wednesday. He denied viewing or downloading the pornography but admitted making misleading statements about his knowledge of the images.

Green was the third senior official to leave May’s government in recent weeks. Michael Fallon resigned in November as defense secretary amid sexual misconduct allegations while international development secretary Priti Patel left over undisclosed meetings in Israel.

Speaking during a visit to Poland Thursday, May said she will ensure her government is a workplace where people can raise concerns about harassment or bullying. She also addressed concerns about the way police information about the pornography had been leaked, saying that would be investigated.

Also Thursday, Britain’s Cabinet Office cleared another official, international trade minister Mark Garnier, of breaking the ministerial code after an investigation into sexual misconduct claims. Garnier had admitted to asking his secretary to buy vibrators from a sex shop, but the investigation found he had not broken rules.

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