UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon has resigned as defence secretary, it has been announced. In a letter to the prime minister, he admitted his behaviour had “fallen below the high standards” expected of a minister.
Earlier this week, he admitted touching a female journalist’s knee. It is understood that he told the prime minister he could not guarantee further, similar allegations would not emerge in the coming days.
In his resignation letter, Fallon said that many allegations about his previous conduct were “false” but he had “reflected on his position”.
He told the BBC that what had been “acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now”.
He is the first politician to quit following recently revealed claims of serious sexual abuse in Parliament.
The BBC understands fresh claims about his behaviour were raised on Wednesday, but Downing Street refused to comment.
Political editor Laura Kuenssberg said that sources close to him do not believe he is “some kind of predator”, but that he had not felt that he could guarantee that he would be able to account for every encounter in his long ministerial career.
Theresa May said she appreciated the “serious manner” in which Sir Michael had considered his Cabinet role.
She also praised the “particular example you wish to set servicemen and women and others”.
In her reply, the prime minister Theresa May thanked Fallon for the “characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position” and expresses hope that he will continue to serve his constituents.
The prime minister has since appointed her former Special Adviser and Tory Party Chief Whip Gavin Williamson as the new Defense Minister