Retired police officers who leaked information about an inquiry into Cabinet minister Damian Green could face prosecution, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said.

Cressida Dick said it was “quite wrong” for two former Metropolitan Police officers to speak out over allegations that pornographic images had been uncovered on Mr Green’s parliamentary computer during a police investigation into Home Office leaks in 2008.

On Friday, former Scotland Yard detective Neil Lewis said he was shocked to discover “thousands” of images on the now First Secretary of State’s computer – claiming he had “no doubt whatsoever” they had been accessed by Mr Green.

It comes after former assistant commissioner Bob Quick also gave interviews about material discovered during a police raid on the Tory MP’s Commons office.

Theresa May is facing a Cabinet split over the future of her closest ally, who is also under investigation by the Cabinet Office over disputed claims that he behaved inappropriately towards a young Tory activist.

Ms Dick told LBC: “Police officers have a duty of confidentiality, we come into contact with personal information very regularly, sometimes extremely sensitive. This is a daily occurrence for any officer.

“We all know that we have a duty to protect that information and keep it confidential.

“In my view that duty endures, it endures after you leave the service. 

“So I believe that with this officer, and indeed other retired officer, appears to have done is wrong and my professional standards department will be reviewing what has happened in relation to how information has been handled and if any offences are disclosed we will investigate them.”

Asked if prosecutions could occur in such circumstances, Ms Dick said: “Undoubtedly, if offences have been disclosed and that can be proved, it would be a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service, but there could be a prosecution.

“I’ve said before I don’t want to give a running commentary on this matter. It’s clearly sensitive, it’s controversial and there is a Cabinet Office inquiry running in parallel, as you know, but today, I think it is appropriate that I say that what they appear to have done seems to me to be quite wrong.”

Mr Green is facing a fight for his political survival as senior aides to Ms May reportedly believe he should resign to spare her further embarrassment, while Education Secretary Justine Greening publicly raised doubts about his conduct in an interview with the BBC.

But his allies have fought back over his treatment by the police and Brexit Secretary David Davis is understood to have threatened to resign if Mr Green is sacked.

The verdict of the inquiry by the head of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray, is expected in the coming days, which focuses on similar claims but will not look at allegations that pornography was found on Mr Green’s computer in 2008 as the controversy dates from before he became a minister. 

However, it has involved establishing whether allegations were part of a “pattern of behaviour” that might have continued since Mr Green became a minister by taking evidence from his officials in the jobs held since. Mr Green denies any wrongdoing.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “I have seen the Commissioner’s comments, I think they speak for themselves.

“As for our own position, I think we will wait for this process to be completed.”

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