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Britain's defense minister resigns in growing harassment scandal
14:05 02-11-2017
Britain's defense minister resigns in growing harassment scandal British defense minister Michael Fallon quit on Wednesday, the first resignation in a growing sexual harassment scandal that prompted calls for a wholesale change in the “locker room” culture in parliament, Reuters reports.

Members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party said the first high-profile resignation in the scandal showed it was time for reform at the 800-year-old parliament, where power is concentrated in lawmakers’ hands and wielded, often unchecked, over junior aides.

The loss of Fallon, described by Conservative sources as a political “Rottweiler”, leaves May with a hole in her cabinet, already at odds on everything from Britain’s departure from the European Union to the government’s austerity agenda.

Weakened after losing her party’s majority in a June election, May will want to move swiftly to appoint a replacement with as little disruption as possible.

In his letter of resignation to May, Fallon, who had apologized earlier this week for repeatedly touching a radio presenter’s knee in 2002, said there had been many allegations about lawmakers, 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,” he said, offering no detail on the nature of any other allegations.

‘’ I have reflected on my position and I am therefore resigning as defense secretary.”

May replied in a letter saying she appreciated “the characteristically serious manner” in which Fallon had considered his position and “the particular example you wish to set to servicemen and women and others”.

The prime minister was expected to announce a new defense minister on Thursday and is unlikely to launch a major reshuffle of her cabinet at a time when she is trying to push forward Brexit talks.


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