Deputy PM Damian Green under investigation over claims of sexually inappropriate behaviour
Theresa May has been hit by a fresh twist in the sexual harassment scandal after it emerged her right-hand man will be investigated over a claim of inappropriate behaviour.
First Secretary of State Damian Green was last night alleged to have “fleetingly” touched the knee of a Conservative activist in 2015 and sent her “suggestive” text messages.
He has insisted the claims are “completely untrue” but the Cabinet secretary will probe whether he broke the ministerial code.
It is the latest development in a sexual harassment scandal that has engulfed Westminster in the past few days – with a number of MPs and ministers implicated.
Writer and academic Kate Maltby – who is some 30 years younger than Mr Green – said in an article for the Times that his actions left her feeling "embarrassed and professionally compromised".
Mr Green – who is the defacto deputy prime minister – said the pair “had a drink as friends twice-yearly” but denied touching her knee.
"The text I sent after she appeared in a newspaper article was sent in that spirit - as two friends agreeing to meet for a regular catch up - and nothing more," he said.
"This untrue allegation has come as a complete shock and is deeply hurtful, especially from someone I considered a personal friend."
It comes after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon apologised for touching the knee of a journalist at a Tory party function some years ago.
A Labour party activist meanwhile has claimed she was raped at a party event in 2011 but an official told her to keep quiet or risk harming her career.
Another female staffer at Westminster has told how she was let down by parliamentary authorities after being attacked by an MP on a foreign trip.
A list of almost 40 Tory MPs has been circulating around Westminster listing a mix of inappropriate behaviour and office gossip of a sexual nature.
Some who have been outed as being on the list on social media have threatened to take legal action.
Tory MP Bob Stewart - who was criticised for calling a female journalist “totty” last year – warned that the scandal could be blown out of proportion.
“What we’ve got now is a situation where are we soon going to be in a situation where people that work together can’t say ‘can I take you out?’” he told The Sun.
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