Sir Michael Fallon Quits As Defence Sec

2 November 2017, 11:34

Michael Fallon

Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon has resigned as Defence Secretary following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Michael said: "A number of allegations have surfaced about MPs in recent days, including some about my previous conduct.

"Many of these have been false but I accept that in the past I have fallen below the high standards that we require of the armed forces that I have the honour to represent."

Earlier this week it emerged he had repeatedly put his hand on a journalist's knee during a party conference dinner in 2002. He apologised at the time and his spokesman said both he and a journalist considered the matter closed.

Sir Michael's decision to quit came just hours after Mrs May invited Westminster's party leaders to crisis talks on Monday to discuss plans for tackling sexual abuse and harassment.

The Prime Minister said MPs from all parties are "deeply concerned" about allegations that have emerged in recent days as she invited political counterparts to talks on setting up a new "transparent, independent" grievance procedure.

"We have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here to contribute to public life is treated with respect," she told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions.

Sir Michael was not under investigation about the 2002 incident, but two of his former ministerial colleagues are the subject of probes.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood is looking into claims made against Mrs May's de facto deputy prime minister Damian Green, who is also the MP for Ashford.

The Cabinet Office investigation was launched after activist Kate Maltby, told The Times that the First Secretary of State "fleetingly" touched her knee during a meeting in a Waterloo pub in 2015, and a year later sent her a "suggestive" text message after she was pictured wearing a corset in the newspaper.

The department is separately probing whether international trade minister Mark Garnier breached the ministerial code after he reportedly admitted asking his secretary to buy sex toys.