Michael Fallon quit UK Cabinet after allegations of inappropriate remarks by Andrea Leadsom

Written by Kevin Schofield and Nicholas Mairs on 3 November 2017 in News

The Commons leader accused him of making a string of inappropriate remarks while they were on a Westminster committee

Michael Fallon - Image credit: PA Images

Sir Michael Fallon quit as defence secretary after Andrea Leadsom accused him of making a string of sexually inappropriate remarks, it has been reported.

According to The Sun, the Commons leader presented a dossier of allegations against her Cabinet colleague to the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

They dated back to when the Tory MPs were colleagues on the Treasury Select Committee between 2010 and 2012.

One claim was that after Leadsom complained of having cold hands, Fallon said: "I know where you can put them to warm them up."

Hours after she handed the evidence to Theresa May, Fallon stunned Westminster by announcing he was resigning because his past behaviour had "fallen below the high standards we require of the armed forces".

The Tory veteran had apologised earlier this week for touching the knee of journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer at the Conservative Party conference in 2002.

Fallon was presented with Leadsom's allegations by Theresa May after Prime Minister's Questions.

He denied making the hand-warming comment, but admitted some of his remarks during committee meetings "might not have been appropriate".

A source close to the former minister told The Sun: “He categorically denies saying something as appalling as 'he knows where she could warm her hands'.”

Other allies also rallied to Fallon's defence and questioned Leadsom's motives for making her allegations.

"If you’re offended by something, why wait six years to say it?" said one.

"Is this her way of securing her political survival? Nobody’s going to dare to sack a whistleblower, are they?"

Another Cabinet ally of Fallon said: "He made mistakes in the past, but what the f*** does Leadsom think she’s doing?

“We’re supposed to be a team. Does she want to bring down the whole f***ing Government?"

But another senior Conservative MP told the paper: "Michael is a very able man, but has a terrible flaw when it comes to his behaviour with women, and it’s been going on for years.

"He could not stay on in government. Andrea did us a service by ending this very swiftly."

Fallon was replaced as defence secretary yesterday by chief whip Gavin Williamson - a decision which sparked a further round of Tory in-fighting.

Meanwhile Labour has suspended an MP following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Former shadow cabinet member Kelvin Hopkins is accused of rubbing himself against Ava Etemadzadeh at a political event and then sending her several lewd text messages.

According to The Telegraph, she informed the party at the time of the incident, but was told that they could not act as she wanted to remain anonymous.

Etemadzadeh also claimed that Jeremy Corbyn’s office was informed of the alleged incident last year, but that Hopkins was later appointed shadow culture secretary. 

In a statement last night, Labour said: “On the basis of allegations received by the Labour party today, Kelvin Hopkins has been suspended from party membership, and therefore the Labour whip, while an investigation takes place.

“The Labour party takes all such complaints extremely seriously and has robust procedures in place to deal with them.”

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