Michael Fallon quit the Cabinet 'after Andrea Leadsom sex pest claims'

Posted On: 
3rd November 2017

Sir Michael Fallon quit as Defence Secretary after Andrea Leadsom accused him of making a string of sexually inappropriate remarks, it has been reported.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom
The House magazine

According to The Sun, the Commons Leader presented a dossier of allegations against her Cabinet colleague to the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

They dated back to when the Tory MPs were colleagues on the Treasury Select Committee between 2010 and 2012.

Gavin Williamson replaces Michael Fallon as Defence Secretary

Michael Fallon: My behaviour was acceptable 10 years ago

WATCH: Michael Fallon resigns as Defence Secretary

One claim was that after Ms Leadsom complained of having cold hands, Sir Michael said: "I know where you can put them to warm them up."

Hours after she handed the evidence to Mrs May, Sir Michael stunned Westminster by announcing he was resigning because his past behaviour had "fallen below the high standards we require of the Armed Forces".

The Tory veteran had apologised earlier this week for touching the knee of journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer at the Conservative Party conference in 2002.

Sir Michael was presented with Ms Leadsom's allegations by Theresa May after Prime Minister's Questions. He denied making the hand-warming comment, but admitted some of his remarks during committee meetings "might not have been appropriate".

A source close to the former minister told The Sun: “He categorically denies saying something as appalling as 'he knows where she could warm her hands'.”

Other allies also rallied to Sir Michael's defence and questioned Ms Leadsom's motives for making her allegations.

"If you’re offended by something, why wait six years to say it?" said one. "Is this her way of securing her political survival? Nobody’s going to dare to sack a whistleblower are they?"

Another Cabinet ally of Sir Michael said: "He made mistakes in the past, but what the f*** does Leadsom think she’s doing? We’re supposed to be a team. Does she want to bring down the whole f***ing Government?"

But another senior Conservative MP told the paper: "Michael is a very able man, but has a terrible flaw when it comes to his behaviour with women, and it’s been going on for years.

"He could not stay on in government. Andrea did us a service by ending this very swiftly."

Sir Michael was replaced as Defence Secretary yesterday by Chief Whip Gavin Williamson - a decision which sparked a further round of Tory in-fighting.