UK defence secretary quits over sexual harassment allegation

November 2, 2017

LONDON: British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned on Wednesday following a highly-publicised allegation of sexual harassment, the first politician to step down in a developing scandal at Westminster.

“A number of allegations have 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.

“I have reflected on my position and I am therefore resigning as Defence Secretary,” Fallon wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, saying he would continue to serve as a member of parliament.

Fallon had earlier this week apologised for an incident in 2002 in which he had put his hand on a political journalist’s knee, but he was not being investigated over the incident.

May responded to the resignation by thanking Fallon for “a long and impressive ministerial career”.

“I appreciate the characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position, and the particular example you wish to set to servicemen and women and others,” she wrote in a letter.

The prime minister has called for rules on MPs’ behaviour to be toughened after the emergence of several allegations of sexual harassment at Westminster. – AFP