A newspaper had reported last weekend that defence minister Michael Fallon had repeatedly touched a journalist’s knee at a function in 2002.
The journalist in question said she had shrugged off the incident, but reports suggested that other allegations about Fallon might soon emerge.
In his resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Fallon wrote that his “previous conduct … may have fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces.”PM Theresa May has ordered an investigation following Conservative party activist Kate Maltby’s allegations against Cabinet minister Damian Green, claiming he touched her knee and sent her provocative text messages in 2015.
Maltby wrote in the Times of London newspaper that under the pretext of offering her career advice, Green had given clear indications that he was sexually interested in her.
Green denied the allegations and called them shocking and “deeply hurtful. “In the opposition Labour Party, a worker said she was discouraged by higher-ups from reporting that she was raped at a Labour conference in 2011, when she was only 19. The party said it was investigating the report.
Indian-origin Labour party MP Lisa Nandy said she had raised concerns three years ago that party whips kept claims of sexual abuse as ammunition to control lawmakers, rather than dealing with the allegations.
“Three years ago, I brought evidence to her (Theresa May) in this House that whips had used information about sexual abuse to demand loyalty from MPs… On three occasions, I asked her to act and on three occasions she did not,” Nandy claimed, demanding that the British prime minister take “concrete action” to tackle the issue now. During her weekly session at the House of Commons, May told party whips to make it clear that allegations of crimes should be reported to police. She also asked other party leaders to meet her next week to discuss setting up an independent grievance procedure for people working in Parliament.
“We have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here to contribute to public life is treated with respect,” May said.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, one of whose own MPs – Jared O’Mara – has recently been suspended amid claims of misogynistic comments, said he was ready to meet the Speaker and Prime Minister to strengthen disciplinary procedures. Earlier, it was widely reported by various media outlets that Conservative party staff have compiled a list of at least 36 current Tory MPs against whom allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been made, including having affairs with junior colleagues and being “handsy” with women.
PM May has already called on the UK Cabinet Office to investigate the conduct of one of her junior ministers in the Department for International Trade, Mark Garnier, who admitted referring to his secretary with an inappropriate sexual phrase and sending her to buy sex toys for him back in 2010, before he was a minister.
Another senior Conservative party MP and former Cabinet minister, Stephen Crabb, has also admitted to sending “explicit” texts to a 19-year-old woman after she had been interviewed for a job by him.
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable signaled his support for May’s initiative and said, “Parliament clearly needs improved procedures to respond to allegations of harassment”.