Sexual misconduct scandal sees top British MP resign

Michael Fallon has now quit his job as defence secretary.
Michael Fallon has now quit his job as defence secretary. Photo credit: Getty

Britain's defence secretary has resigned amid allegations of widespread sexual misconduct at Westminster.

Michael Fallon, who has served in the role for three years, admitted his past behaviour may have "fallen below the high standards" expected from someone in his position earlier this week.

He apologised to journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, who is alleged to have repeatedly touched on her knee in an incident 15 years ago - but friends of told The Guardian Mr Fallon "would absolutely concede that some of the flirtation has been inappropriate" in more recent times, too.

In a letter of resignation addressed to Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Fallon cited "a number of allegations about MPs in recent days, including some about my previous conduct".

"Many of these have been false but I accept in the past I have fallen below the high standards that we require of the armed forces that I have the honour to represent," he wrote.

"I have reflected on my position and I am now resigning as defence secretary."

In her reply, Ms May thanked Mr Fallon for his "diligent service" and for the serious manner in which he'd considered his conduct in his position.

The resignation of Mr Fallon may be just the first as a series of scathing sexual misconduct accusations are levelled at British MPs.

One woman told The Standard a Conservative MP she worked for grabbed her genitalia in the House of Commons, while another says her drink was spiked at a bar reserved for MPs and their guests.

Labour activist Bex Bailey says she was raped at a party event in 2011, while secretary of state Damian Green has been accused of sending suggestive text messages to a Tory activist.