London: Damian Green, one of British prime minister Theresa May's closest allies, was sacked as the first secretary of state after admitting that he lied about the presence of pornographic images on his House of Commons computer, the media reported.
An investigation by cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood found that Green's vehement denials after a Sunday daily reported that porn had been found on his computer were "inaccurate and misleading", the Guardian reported.
His departure on Wednesday night was a personal blow for May, who brought him into Downing Street after her majority was wiped out in June's general election to help shore up her authority.
Green, 61, is the third cabinet minister to step aside since early November, following the departures of former secretary of state for defense Michael Fallon and former secretary of state for international development Priti Patel.
In his resignation letter, Green continued to maintain that he did not "download or view" the pornography, but added that he "should have been clear in my press statements", that his lawyers were informed about its presence in 2008 - and that he discussed it with the police in 2013.
He also apologized for making writer Kate Maltby feel uncomfortable in 2015.
Heywood found Green had twice breached the ministerial code, because his misleading comments had fallen short of the "seven principles of public life", one of which is honesty.
In a letter responding to his resignation, May said she was "extremely sad" about losing Green from government, reports the Guardian.
She said it was "with deep regret and enduring gratitude for the contribution you have made over many years that I asked you to resign from the government and have accepted your resignation".
May was handed Heywood's report on Monday, and subsequently sought a second opinion from Alex Allan, the prime minister's independent adviser on ministers' interests.
May, who has known Green since they were contemporaries at Oxford, brought him into the cabinet after she became prime minister in 2016 and promoted him to first secretary of state in July, the BBC reported.
Since then, he has played a substantial role behind the scenes chairing key cabinet committees and has also deputized for May at prime minister's questions.
It is not clear who will replace him in those roles but unconfirmed reports have suggested there will be no announcement until the New Year, with Parliament due to go on recess on Thursday.