Michael Fallon resigns over ‘previous conduct’… and PM tells him how great he is
The PM was keen to focus on her Tory colleague's 'long and impressive ministerial career'.
Michael Fallon’s resignation last night is said to have come after the chief whip warned Theresa May that there could be more accusations to come.
According to insiders, the prime minister finally pulled the plug on the defence secretary’s cabinet career when he told her that he couldn’t guarantee that there wouldn’t be further stories about his past behaviour.
In the Daily Mail, a friend of Fallon is quoted as saying: "Has there been flirtation that has been inappropriate? Yes, he will concede that."
But you might not have gathered this from the exchange of letters between the pair.
In his letter, Fallon wrote :
“Dear Prime Minister,
“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 that 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 therefore resigning as defence secretary...
And in her response to the defence secretary, which was shared with lobby journalists at 7.41pm on Wednesday evening, May devoted 227 words to essentially telling Fallon just what a great chap he was…
"Thank you for your letter of this evening. I appreciate the characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position, and the particular example you wish to set to servicemen and women and others.
"As secretary of state for defence since July 2014, you have championed our brave armed forces and made sure that the government has been able to fulfil its most fundamental responsibility: the defence of the realm.
"You should take particular pride in the way the United Kingdom has risen to the challenge of tackling the barbaric threat of Daesh.
"Thanks to the bravery of our armed forces, Daesh is being defeated, and three million people have been freed from its murderous rule.
"This follows a long and impressive ministerial career - serving in four departments of state under four prime ministers - as well as your distinguished contribution on the Conservative front bench in opposition, your membership of the Treasury select committee, and your role as deputy chairman of the Conservative party.
"You have combined these roles with diligent service to the public in two constituencies - first in Darlington, and then in Sevenoaks - and I know you will continue to represent your constituents in that manner.
"On behalf of all those you have helped throughout your time in government, I thank you for your service..."
Photo credit: Press Association.