Brexit Secretary David Davis has made clear he will resign if First Secretary of State Damian Green is sacked as a result of the ongoing Cabinet Office inquiry into his propriety.
Davis believes his cabinet colleague is the victim of a police vendetta — fittingly, the threat emerged mere hours after Neil Lewis, the now retired police investigator who examined Green's work computer in 2008, claimed he was "shocked" by the amount of pornography he discovered, which ran to at least 1000 images.
The images were found as a result of a police investigation in 2008, which saw his House of Commons office raided, and Green arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office — it was alleged he received classified information embarrassing to Gordon Brown's Labour government. Lewis did not discuss the content of the images, but made clear no material of an extreme or illegal nature was found.
The current investigation into Green was launched November 1 following allegations of inappropriate behavior towards a young Conservative activist, Kate Maltby.
The 31-year-old Conservative activist claimed Green met her in a pub in 2015 and suggested he could help her start a political career. He also suggested his wife was "very understanding" — and allegedly touched her knee.
Maltby had no further contact with Green after the incident, until a year later when he allegedly sent her a text message saying he had "admired [her] in a corset" and inviting her for a drink.
Green has strenuously denied the claims.
Our second edition @EveningStandard has this cracking @JoeMurphyLondon exclusive: David Davis has threatened to quit if May sacks Green as result of any material gathered during the police raid in 2008 & lots of photos from Meghan’s first walkabout pic.twitter.com/JsErSeYmhQ— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) December 1, 2017
Despite the allegations, according to sources close to Davis quoted in the Evening Standard, he has "thrown his cloak" around his colleague.
"It is right allegations of misconduct towards individuals are properly investigated, but police officers have a duty of confidentiality which should be upheld," the unnamed source said.
So David Davis is threatening to quit…again…— Emma Hardy MP (@EmmaHardyMP) December 1, 2017
The Brexit Secretary's alleged ultimatum comes at a particularly sensitive time for the government, with proposals on December 1 to allow Northern Ireland to remain in the EU Customs Union receiving a mixed reception from the Irish Government, the Brexit Select Committee and the Democratic Unionist Party, which informally supports the Conservatives.
Davis is no stranger to quitting his post on apparent principle — at the time of the initial police probe into Green, both he and Davis strongly opposed the Brown government's Home Office policies around detention without trial, which saw him briefly resign as an MP and stand in a by-election on a civil liberties platform that same year.