The parents of Kate Maltby, the Tory party activist and writer who accused secretary of state Damian Green of sexual harassment, have declared pride in their daughter’s “fortitude and serenity” this week. After two months of being attacked by the tabloid press, it’s an overdue moment of vindication for Maltby.
“We are not surprised to find that the inquiry found Mr Green to have been untruthful as a minister, nor that they found our daughter to be a plausible witness,” they wrote in a statement. “We have received many supportive messages from people near and far who appreciate Kate's courage and the importance of speaking out about the abuse of authority. We join with them in admiring her fortitude and serenity throughout the length of this investigation... We are proud of her.”
Colin and Victoria Maltby’s expression of support is made all the more pertinent by the fact that they were once friends and supporters of Green, and that the Daily Mail had previously asserted her parents “would be absolutely aghast at what Kate has done”. The morning after Green’s resignation, their words only go to show how misleading this narrative was to begin with.
For Maltby, the end of 2017 hasn’t been the easiest of rides. In early November, the Conservative party activist and writer wrote of her uncomfortable experiences with secretary of state Damian Green. During a meeting in 2015, Green brushed her knee in a move that was “so brief, it was almost deniable.” When Maltby wrote an article about the history of corsets, which included a picture of her wearing one, Green sent her a text message: “Long time no see. But having admired you in a corset in my favourite tabloid I feel impelled to ask if you are free for a drink anytime?”
The Daily Mail article, the unending cries of “witch hunt” and the support Damian Green received from his peers all fed into one message for women: stay silent
Despite being the victim, it was Maltby who found herself on the receiving end of a vitriolic hate campaign by the tabloid press – specifically the Daily Mail, who branded the writer as “one very pushy lady”, calling her “ambitious”, “relentless” and “pushy”.
As allegations against other MPs and Commons staff swelled to the surface, fuelled by the downfall of Harvey Weinstein, an investigation was launched into Green’s behaviour. The spotlight on Green led to reports that, during a separate inquiry in 2008, thousands of pornographic images were found on his parliamentary computer. The Cabinet Office included this in their investigation, before expanding it further to include allegations that a damning Daily Mail article was influenced by Green’s allies. As we know, it culminated in Damian Green’s resignation, or sacking, depending on which paper you read.
The Daily Mail article, the unending cries of “witch hunt” and the support Damian Green received from his peers all fed into one message for women: stay silent. Maltby’s parent’s declaration of love and pride for their daughter strikes a defiant line straight through this narrative. Their support isn’t just a message to Maltby and her doubters, it’s an assertion to every woman who has told her story – we’re proud of you.