Michael Fallon quits over 'previous conduct'

Written by Liz Bates on 2 November 2017 in News

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon quits cabinet, citing past behaviour 'acceptable 10 years ago'

Michael Fallon - Paul Heartfield

Michael Fallon has quit as Defence Secretary over past misdemeanours but insisted his behaviour was "acceptable" 10 years ago.

Fallon told Prime Minister Theresa May his conduct had “fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces”.

It came just a day after he apologised for touching journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee at a dinner in 2002.


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Later Fallon told the BBC: “The culture has changed over the years, what might have been acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now.

"Parliament now has to look at itself and the Prime Minister has made very clear that conduct needs to be improved and we need to protect the staff of Westminster against any particular allegations of harassment."

Asked if he thought he should apologise, the Tory veteran said: "I think we've all got to look back now at the past, there are always things you regret, you would have done differently."

Amid speculation that there may be more allegations yet to surface, friends of Fallon last night voiced concerns that other incidents which he had previously considered to be “flirtation” could become public.

Hartley-Brewer took to Twitter saying “I doubt my knee was the reason.”

In a resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Fallon wrote: “A number of allegations have surfaced about MPs in recent days, including some about my previous conduct.

“I have reflected on my position and I am therefore resigning as Defence Secretary.”

Significantly, May’s official spokesman refused to confirm that she had full confidence in Fallon when asked earlier this week.

His decision to quit will force her into a reshuffle, and comes as the Cabinet Office investigates allegations against Damian Green, the de facto deputy Prime Minister.

In her letter to the Sevenoaks MP, the Prime Minister paid tribute to his "long and impressive ministerial career.”

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