The Conservative sexual harassment scandal has claimed its first scalp as Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has resigned, admitting he has “fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces.”
As even more serious allegations of sexual assault and date rape drugs emerged from Tory Party workers this evening, adding to the scandal that has threatened to engulf the party since last week, Michael Fallon wrote to the Prime Minister to resign his position after it emerged he made inappropriate advances to a female journalist, touching her knee.
Amid speculation that more allegations would emerge, it remains unclear exactly why the Defence Secretary fell on his sword. Fallon wrote “a number of allegations have surfaced 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.
“I have reflected on my position and I am now resigning as defence secretary.”
First Secretary of State Damian Green also came under pressure, accused of touching the knee of a Tory activist three decades younger than him, and sending her a “suggestive” text message.
Female MPs reacted angrily. “In normal circumstances that person would be suspended,” insisted his Tory colleague Anna Soubry. But Theresa May is under immense pressure, having lost yet another vote massively in the Commons. Tonight the government was defeated in a motion that it should not keep hiding its studies into how 58 sectors in the country would be affected by Brexit, a lack of transparency that has made many extremely suspicious.
As the Prime Minister came under pressure to deal with some of the other 36 of her MP’s shamed in a dossier circulated by their party workers full of appalling sexual allegations, she was accused at Prime Minister’s Questions of three times having ignored Wigan MP Lisa Nandy’s accusation that party whips were using sex abuse allegations to keep MPs in line.
And this afternoon the Evening Standard published testimony of shocking new allegations of serious sexual assault and the use of date rape drugs in Westminster.
One woman described how a Tory MP she worked for sexually assaulted her in the House of Commons: “I was on my own in the office with him late one afternoon, which was not unusual, when out of nowhere he just put his hand between my legs.
“I was totally shocked. I just froze. It was over in seconds and I just ran out of the room. It was never mentioned.”
When she reported the assault to authorities in the House of Commons, she says “they essentially told me I had to talk to the party or to the police, there wasn’t anything they could do.”
And a former Conservative Party aide told the paper that she believes that her drink was “spiked” with a date rape drug in the Strangers’ Bar at the House of Commons, where MPs entertain guests.
When she reported it to the police, she was told it was “not the first time” that they had heard of drinks being spiked had been made at Westminster.