British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has resigned, admitting that his behaviour towards women had in the past fallen short of the standards expected by the UK military.
“I realise that in the past I have fallen below the high standards 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,” ge said.
Fallon was accused of repeatedly touching a secretary’s leg in 2002 at a Conservative Party dinner. He is the first politician to quit amid allegations of sexual abuse in Parliament.
Prime Minister Teresa May praised Fallon for setting the right example by resigning. May has moved swiftly after a weekend report that one of her ministers asked a female secretary to buy sex toys, the first allegation that triggered soul-searching in parliament over how junior workers are treated.
Allegations of sexual abuse have ranged from a charge of rape by an activist in the main 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.
Damian Green, May’s deputy in the British government, has denied an allegation that he made an inappropriate sexual advance on a young woman. May, who has long championed the careers of female lawmakers, said earlier on Wednesday that 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 lawmakers..