Damian Green fails to apologise to victims of sexual harassment
Damian Green has declined to apologise on behalf of Parliament to victims of sexual harassment and assault.
The de-facto deputy prime minister, who is under ongoing investigation into allegations against him of sexually inappropriate behaviour, was asked by Labour's John Mann to say sorry to those let down by Parliament.
Mr Green, who was standing in for Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions, dodged the opportunity to apologise and instead said he “agreed” Parliament needs to improve its complaint procedure.
The First Secretary has been at the centre of a month-long Cabinet Office probe since being accused of "fleetingly" touching the knee of a Conservative activist in 2015 and sending her "suggestive" text messages. He denies the allegations.
In a fresh twist, it was then claimed that "extreme" pornography was found on his work computer during a police raid on his office in 2008.
Mr Green has insisted the allegations - made by former anti-terror police officer Bob Quick in the Sunday Times - are "completely untrue". However, they have also formed part of the Cabinet Office inquiry.
Downing Street has failed to deny that the Prime Minister has seen a report into the investigation's outcome.
Today outspoken Bassetlaw MP Mr Mann said: “Being believed, reliving trauma, a culture of denial are some of the reasons very many women are reluctant to report rape, assault and sexual harassment.
“Does he agree with me that Government and Parliament needs to lead by example and will he on behalf of Government, apologise to victims who Parliament and the Government have been letting down?”
Mr Green replied: "I absolutely agree that both this place as an institution and all the political parties need to improve complaints procedures and other aspects of the culture of politics to make sure young men or young women who are interested in politics are not in any way feel deterred from playing an active role in it."
Afterwards, Mr Mann told PoliticsHome: "His response was pre-prepared and he didn't even attempt to answer the question. Why would be choose not to apologise?"
A source close to Damian Green failed to explain why Mr Green had not apologised to victims, as Theresa May has done.
"As he set out, it's important that all the parties get their procedures in place. For the Conservatives, the Prime Minister has set out the procedures that we will be following and that's exactly what he said," he said.