Sir Michael Fallon resigns as Defence Secretary over 'past behaviour'

Saul Bowman
November 3, 2017

"I doubt very much if one of the standards they require in the armed forces means that no man in the military has ever touched the knee of a younger woman".

In his resignation letter to Ms May, Mr Fallon, who had apologised earlier this week for repeatedly touching a radio presenter's knee in 2002, said there had been many allegations about MPs, including "some about my previous conduct". The MP for Sevenoaks this week admitted to inappropriate behaviour towards journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer more than a decade ago.

She said considered the incident "mildly amusing", but at the time had threatened to punch him if he attempted to touch her again.

"I have reflected on my position and I am therefore resigning as Defence Secretary", he said.

In a speech after winning the Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year award, she said it was time to "clear the stables" in light of recent allegations, but said there was a need for some "pretty big shovels" to do it with.

He told the BBC that what had been "acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now".

Fallon is the first politician to step down in a developing scandal at Westminster.

The PM has since responded saying "I appreciate the characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position, and the particular example you wish to set to servicemen and women and others".

"The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Rt Hon Gavin Williamson as Secretary of State for Defence", May's spokesman said.

Two of his former ministerial colleagues are however, the subject of an investigation.

Labour MP Jess Phillips said recent allegations made against MPs were a cross-party issue, but said Sir Michael's resignation made her feel that action was being taken.

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