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British Defense Minister Resigns Over Harassment Allegations

  • VOA News

FILE - Britain's Minister of Defense Michael Fallon leaves 10 Downing Street after a cabinet meeting, in London, Britain, June 27, 2017.

Britain's Defense Minister Michael Fallon has resigned after allegations of inappropriate behavior emerged.

Fallon said in a resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that his "previous conduct ... may have fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces.''

May accepted the resignation Wednesday, saying she appreciated "the characteristically serious manner" in which Fallon had considered his position.

The sexual harassment and assault allegations brought against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein have emboldened women in several countries to speak out about their experiences.

In Britain, it has produced soul-searching about the growing number of reports of sexual harassment and abuse in politics. May has called a meeting of party leaders to discuss how to deal with the topic.

Fallon apologized this week for putting his hand on the knee of a journalist, Julia Hartley-Brewer, in 2002, but he was not being investigated over the incident.

Hartley-Brewer said she was "incredibly shocked" by Fallon's resignation and did not think his decision was based solely on the 2002 incident.

"I'm assuming there are more allegations to come," she told Sky News. "I doubt very much it's because of my knee."

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