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Tory Sir Michael Fallon resigns over Westminster harassment scandal

Sir Michael Fallon has dramatically resigned as Defence Secretary following allegations of his past behaviour.

Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon has resigned over behaviour claims after a sexual harassment scandal in Westminster revealed allegations he had inappropriately touched a female broadcaster.
Sexual harassment scandal in Westminster revealed he had inappropriately touched a female broadcaster.

The 65-year-old Tory minister admitted his behaviour in the past may have “fallen short” as he quit three years after taking the job.

Michael Fallon has admitted touching journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee at the Conservative party conference in 2002.

The Defence Secretary's letter to Prime Minister Theresa May
The Defence Secretary’s letter to Prime Minister Theresa May

“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.

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

He added in a statement: “It has been a privilege to have served as Defence Secretary for the last three and half years, and I have nothing but admiration for the professionalism, bravery and service of those men and women who keep us safe.”

In a statement yesterday (October 30) Ms Hartley-Brewer downplayed the incident, which took place 15 years ago.

She also did not name the MP in question.

“I have spoken previously about a Cabinet minister who repeatedly put his hand on my knee during a party conference dinner,” she said.

“I calmly and politely explained to him that, if he did it again, I would “punch him in the face”. He withdrew his hand and that was the end of the matter.”

Julie Hartley Brewer

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