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Britain's May replaces defence minister in growing harassment scandal

03 November, 2017, 00:52 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Britain's Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester

Fallon is the first politician to step down in a developing scandal at Westminster.

Sir Michael Fallon was not under investigation for the 2002 incident in which he repeatedly put his hand on a journalist's knee during a party conference dinner.

As Fallon appeared on television to read a prepared statement, repeating his letter to May, the United States government said the resignation "should in no way impact our relationship" with Britain.

In a resignation letter to Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, Fallon said: "A number of allegations have surfaced about MPs in recent days including some about my previous conduct".

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said the "tone of politics had changed".

Allegations of sexual abuse have ranged from a charge of rape by an activist in the opposition Labour Party by a senior party member, to unconfirmed details of serial "sex pests" on a list reportedly drafted by aides and researchers in parliament. "She made clear it was unwelcome and he rightly apologised 15 years ago".

"I have reflected on my position and I am now resigning as defence secretary", he said, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Sir Michael resigned from the Cabinet on Wednesday evening following allegations he had behaved inappropriately.

Laura Kuenssberg said there was already a "fragile balance" in Cabinet that the prime minister would be wary of when naming Sir Michael's successor.

Ms Hartley-Brewer, a former political editor of the Sunday Express and regular political commentator, told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight: "If he has gone because he touched my knee 15 years ago, that is genuinely the most absurd reason for anyone to have lost their job in the history of the universe, so I hope it is not because of that".

However, it is unclear if any further allegations may have prompted his resignation.

"We have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here to contribute to public life is treated with respect."



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