2 Nov 2017

UK defence secretary resigns over behaviour claims

10:13 am on 2 November 2017

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has resigned from his role following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.

Michael Fallon Photo: AFP

Sir Michael is the first minister to step down from Theresa May's government in the growing scandal about sexual harassment at Westminster, which has seen a series of allegations emerge in recent days.

He apologised earlier this week over an incident in 2002 in which he made unwanted advances to the journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, placing his hand on her knee.

In his resignation letter, Sir Michael said a number of allegations had 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."

Following a range of recent allegations, including claims of a lack of support for those making complaints, British Prime Minister Theresa May had written to party leaders calling for the "serious, swift, cross-party response this issue demands".

The prime minister said a "common, transparent independent grievance procedure" for all those who work in Parliament was needed and that it "cannot be right" for policies to vary between parties.

Mrs May on Wednesday said action would be taken when there were allegations and evidence of sexual misconduct.

"I am very clear that we will take action against those where there are allegations that we see, and the evidence is there, that there has been misconduct," she told MPs.

- BBC / Reuters

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