Disgraced top Tory Damian Green insists behaviour towards Kate Maltby was not 'inappropriate'
Damian Green has shrugged off his allegations of inappropriate conduct towards Tory activist Kate Maltby and insisted his texts about her wearing a corset were “a joke”.
The former Cabinet minister and right hand man to Theresa May argued his behaviour towards the journalist, who is thirty years his junior, was not “inappropriate”.
He offered a conditional apology and also said he was still good friends with the Prime Minister despite her sacking him in December.
His comments prompted a withering response from Ms Maltby, who said his inability to see the wrong in his actions showed “why we need change”.
Mr Green lost his job as First Secretary of State when it emerged he was aware police had found pornographic material on his computer in 2008 - something he had previously denied knowledge of.
A Cabinet Office probe also said claims by Ms Maltby that he put his hand on her leg and sent her inappropriate texts were “plausible”.
But on the latter claim Mr Green maintained: “I don’t think I did anything inappropriate.”
“If she felt I did and if she felt uncomfortable then obviously I am sorry about that,” he told BBC Radio4 s' Today programme.
“But I should emphasise again, as a I have down throughout, I didn’t believe I did anything inappropriate and still don’t.”
Asked about his text saying he “admired” images of her in a corset, Mr Green said: “That was a joke.”
And on the porn storm that cost him his job, he said: “I put out a press release that was inaccurate.
“That is what I apologised for. That was a breach of the ministerial code. That is why I had to leave the Government and I accept that, obviously, and I am now moving on.”
But Ms Maltby shot back on Twitter: “I said on Day 1 that I could tell DG didn't think his behaviour was wrong. That is the problem. Why we need change.”
Labour MP Jess Phillips also weighed in, telling PoliticsHome: “It is entitlement that makes Green incapable of seeing his actions as anything but a ‘joke’. An entitlement to use people as playthings.”
She added: “Times have changed and we will not tolerate this anymore.
“He needs to wake up, accept his actions seeks to change them and prove he gets what we are saying. He's digging a deeper hole by victim blaming and diminishing the issue.”
Elsewhere in his interview Mr Green said he was still friends with the Prime Minister, who he has known since their university days.
“We have been at events together and we have spoken," he revealed.
Mr Green yesterday made his first major intervention since resigning when he told the BBC ministers should release any impact analyses they had commissioned about Brexit.