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British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon resigns

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British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon resigns

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Nov. 1 (UPI) — British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon resigned Wednesday, saying his treatment of women had “fallen below” military standards.

Fallon sent a resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May after he apologized for making unwanted advances toward journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer by repeatedly placing his hand on her knee.

“A number of allegations have surfaced about MPs in recent days, including some about my previous conduct,” Fallon said. “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 honor to represent. I have reflected on my position and I am now resigning as defense secretary.”

May, who is expected to appoint a replacement for Fallon on Thursday, praised Fallon for his “diligent service” in her response to his resignation.

“I appreciate the characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position, and the particular example you wish to set to service men and women and others,” she said.

Hartley-Brewer said “no one was remotely upset or distressed” by Fallon touching her knee at a dinner in 2002 and a spokesman said he apologized when it happened.

Fallon told the BBC it “was right” for him to resign in the midst of allegations against several other government officials.

“The culture has changed over the years, what might have been acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now,” he said. “Parliament now has to look at itself and the prime minister has made very clear that conduct needs to be improved and we need to protect the staff of Westminster against any particular allegations of harassment.”

May recently called for a “common, transparent independent grievance procedure” for all those who work in Parliament to report further instances of sexual harassment.

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