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Mark Garnier 'did not breach ministerial code', Cabinet Office investigation concludes

Mark Garnier has been cleared of breaking the ministerial code. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister has said that a "line should be drawn" under allegations of inappropriate behaviour by international trade minister Mark Garnier, Downing Street has said.

A Cabinet Office investigation concluded that Mr Garnier did not breach the ministerial code following allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards his staff.

The probe found that Mr Garnier had not breached expected standards of behaviour since becoming a minister which means he will continue in his post.

Theresa May ordered the inquiry following allegations made in a newspaper that Mr Garnier used derogatory language to his former secretary and asked her to buy sex toys, before he became a minister.

The Cabinet Office concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Garnier's conduct as a minister since 2016 had breached the expected standards of behaviour.

The Prime Minister's view is therefore that Mr Garnier did not break the ministerial code while holding Government office.

The Cabinet Office also took evidence in relation to an incident that happened before Mr Garnier was a minister, between Mr Garnier and a member of his parliamentary and constituency staff.

The Cabinet Office concluded that there was no dispute about the facts of the incident, but there was a significant difference of interpretation between the parties, and that the member of staff in Mr Garnier's office was distressed by what had occurred.

It was not his intention to cause distress, and Mr Garnier has apologised unreservedly to the individual. On that basis the Prime Minister considers that a line should be drawn under the issue.

– Downing Street spokesperson

The conclusion of the investigation comes after Mrs May sacked her de facto deputy and long-time friend Damian Green.

The Cabinet Office found he breached the ministerial code by making "misleading" statements over claims police found pornography on his Commons computer in 2008.