Ministerial Code Updated To Tackle ‘Inappropriate Behaviour’ In Wake Of Damian Green Scandal

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Downing Street has updated the ministerial code of conduct to tackle harassment and bullying in the wake of high profile resignations from the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman revealed today there would be “new wording” in the guidelines so that inappropriate behaviour, as well as bullying and harassment, is covered.

Sir Michael Fallon and Damian Green both left the Cabinet in recent months after revelations about their behaviour towards women.

The updated code will also contain specific rules around ministers’ official meetings – both at home and abroad.

That change comes after Priti Patel was forced to quit as International Development Secretary in November after meeting Israeli government officials without the Government’s knowledge.

The Prime Minister’s Spokesman said today: “There are a number of changes but it will include new wording to ensure that the code properly covers inappropriate, bullying, or harassing behaviour and there’s also new wording to specifically address the requirements on ministers to report official meetings, domestically and especially overseas.”

All ministers in the Government will be required to read the code of conduct, Theresa May told her Cabinet today.

Green, the de facto Deputy Prime Minister, was found to be in breach of the code by a Cabinet Office inquiry into claims pornography was found on his parliamentary computer in 2008.

The inquiry found he had made “inaccurate and misleading” comments about the incident by by twice claiming he was not aware of the allegations.

The report said: “Mr Green’s statements of 4 and 11 November, which suggested that he was not aware that indecent material was found on parliamentary computers in his office, were inaccurate and misleading, as the Metropolitan Police Service had previously informed him of the existence of this material.”

The investigation into Green began when female journalist Kate Maltby claimed he had touched her knee and sent her suggestive text messages. 

The inquiry found it was “not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on the appropriateness of Mr Green’s behaviour” with Maltby.

Green was asked to resign as First Secretary of State by May on December 20.



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