After a week of reports of MPs behaving badly and allegations of sexual assault in politics, the first front bench resignation has occurred. Sir Michael Fallon has resigned as Defence Secretary following allegations of past inappropriate behaviour.
His decision comes after a story this week in which he admitted touching a female journalist’s leg at a party conference 15 years ago. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Fallon said that some of his previous conduct had ‘fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces and that I have the honour to represent’:
It’s likely that more details surrounding his decision will surface as the evening goes on. His resignation – which was accepted by the Prime Minister – is a clear indication that the government is keen to show that it takes a hardline approach when dealing with allegations of inappropriate behaviour from those in positions of power.
It also paves the way for a Cabinet reshuffle. The Prime Minister has considered reshuffling her Cabinet for some time but given her fragile position it has proved most effective as a threat than a reality. The Westminster sleaze scandal means that May can now take the opportunity to clean up her Cabinet.