The woman who claimed former Cabinet minister Damian Green acted inappropriately towards her has said Downing Street was aware of his behaviour.

Kate Maltby, whose allegations against the former First Secretary of State sparked a Cabinet Office investigation into his conduct, said she had never called for him to lose his job and just wanted an apology.

The inquiry, headed by senior civil servant Sue Gray, was triggered after Ms Maltby, who is three decades younger than Mr Green, claimed he “fleetingly” touched her knee during a meeting in a pub in 2015, and a year later sent her a “suggestive” text message after she was pictured wearing a corset in a newspaper.

Loading article content

Ms Maltby told the BBC: “The reason that I didn’t tell many people about the first encounter, the encounter which I felt the political mentorship, or even a job in the Conservative Party, was being offered at the same time as a sexual suggestion. The reason I didn’t tell many people then, except my parents, is that I wondered if it was a one-off … and eventually I spoke to a very senior and long-serving aide of Theresa May.”

Asked if she had said to the Cabinet Office investigation that Downing Street was aware “there was an issue” with Mr Green’s behaviour towards women, Ms Maltby said: “I gave evidence to the inquiry. As soon as I sat down with Sue Gray that, to the best of my knowledge, Downing Street was aware.

“But, this whole story has been about power imbalances. This whole story is about power.

“Damian Green became a very, very powerful person. I was aware that there seemed to be … an improper mixing of mentorship and sexual advance within the Conservative Party.

“In his case I was aware that he was the Deputy Prime Minister and I was aware that No 10 knew about it.

“I wrote about the problem of sexual harassment in Westminster because I knew it was a persistent problem … but, I also knew of similar experiences with many other people in Westminster across all parties.

“But, what I was not seeking was a resignation. I’ve never called for Damian Green’s resignation. Either as an MP or as a minister. Frankly, what I was expecting was an apology.”

Reporting the probe’s findings, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said that with “competing and contradictory accounts of what were private meetings” it was “not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on the appropriateness of Mr Green’s behaviour with Kate Maltby in early 2015, though the investigation found Ms Maltby’s account to be plausible”.

When Mr Green resigned on Wednesday he said he did not recognise Ms Maltby’s version of events, stating: “I deeply regret the distress caused to Kate Maltby following her article about me and the reaction to it.

“I do not recognise the events she described in her article, but I clearly made her feel uncomfortable and for this I apologise.”

Prime Minister Theresa May sacked her de facto deputy Mr Green after he made “misleading” statements about allegations that police found pornography on computers in his parliamentary office in 2008.

Allies of the Prime Minister said she had no choice but to act after the Cabinet Office inquiry found Mr Green had breached the ministerial code.

During an overseas trip, Mrs May told reporters she was “very sad” about having to fire Mr Green.

“He and I have known each other since university and he’s a good – was a good – minister. A minister in a number of areas. He and I worked together in the Home Office before I became Prime Minister.”

Two former police officers accused of leaking details about the discovery of pornographic material on Mr Green’s Commons computer during a police raid in 2008 have been warned they could face prosecution.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Scotland Yard had referred the two retired officers to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) over possible breaches of data protection legislation.