LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to name a replacement for Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who resigned amid claims of inappropriate sexual behavior, as speculation grows that other senior politicians may also have to quit. Fallon resigned Wednesday, saying his past behavior "may have fallen below the high standards" expected. Fallon apologized after a newspaper reported that he had repeatedly touched a journalist's knee at a function in 2002. Reports suggested that allegations about Fallon might emerge, and other politicians are also under investigation. Sex-harassment claims against British politicians have emerged since the scandal around movie mogul Harvey Weinstein emboldened victims to speak out.
Sexual harassment and assault allegations have also emerged against a number of other U.K. political figures. Labour Party legislator Carl Sargeant is believed to have taken his own life after harassment allegations cost him his post as the Welsh government's Cabinet secretary for communities and children. He had asked for an independent inquiry to clear his name. Also, Labour Party member Ivan Lewis has been suspended over an allegation of sexual misconduct; Lewis disputed the account but apologized if his behavior had been "unwelcome or inappropriate."
Theresa May's most senior minister has denied a claim that police found pornography on a computer in his office in Westminster during a raid in 2008. First Secretary of State Damian Green said the ex-police chief's allegations in the Sunday Times were "completely untrue" and "political smears". And he said police had never told him that any improper material had been found on his parliamentary computer. It comes amid a growing sexual misconduct scandal in Westminster. On Sunday further details emerged about allegations against Sir Michael Fallon, who this week resigned as defence secretary over his behaviour.
A growing number of MPs are being investigated over allegations about their past conduct towards women. Ex-ministers Daniel Poulter and Stephen Crabb are the latest Tory MPs to be referred to internal party inquiries. One cabinet minister, Sir Michael Fallon, has already resigned while others have denied claims against them and remain in office. Labour has suspended two MPs and is separately investigating an ex-official's allegation of rape. The parties have begun a series of investigations under newly constituted procedures into alleged inappropriate behaviour in response to a series of press reports in the last week.
LONDON – British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon quit the government Wednesday, stepping down from ministerial office in a developing scandal over sexual harassment 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 honor to represent," Fallon wrote in a resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May. Fallon, who intends to remain an MP, had apologized this week for putting his hand on the knee of political journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer. Appearing on television, she said she did not think Fallon's Cabinet resignation was based solely on the 2002 incident.