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- Andrea Leadsom compiled a dossier of sexist comments made by Sir Michael Fallon and gave it to No 10 before he resigned as defence secretary. Fallon is alleged to have told Leadsom he knew somewhere to warm up her hands.
LONDON – Andrea Leadsom compiled a dossier of sexist behaviour by former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon and handed it into No 10 before he resigned.
Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, was reported to have submitted her allegations to Downing Street on Wednesday before Fallon announced his resignation.
She accused him of saying, when she complained she had cold hands, “I know where you can put them to warm them up,” The Sun reported.
Leadsom’s complaints are said to mostly have occurred while she was on a committee with Fallon. He is alleged to have made disparaging remarks about other MPs on the committee as well as members of the public who came to meetings.
A source close to Fallon told The Times that he may have made inappropriate comments about other women’s appearances, but refuted that he made the specific comment about warming Leadsom’s hands.
The source said: “He categorically denies saying something as appalling as he knows where she could warm her hands.”
The former defence secretary resigned on Wednesday night after admitted that his behaviour had “fallen short” of what was expected of him.
He said: “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.”
Earlier this week Fallon admitted to inappropriate behaviour towards journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer more than a decade ago.
However, Hartley-Brewer told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” that she “had a text message exchange with Sir Michael Fallon last night because I certainly didn’t want anyone touching my knee 15 years ago to be career ending.
“But he’s made it very clear to me that he does not hold me responsible, which suggests to me that there is something else.”
Another source told The Times that Cabinet Office officials were discussing whether Fallon’s resignation would mean him losing the knighthood he received from David Cameron in 2016, and said: “If they do take away his honour, there will also have to be a by-election.”
Fallon was replaced as defence secretary by former chief whip Gavin Williamson, which was received badly by a number of Conservative MPs. One labelled the appointment Theresa May’s “biggest and probably last mistake.”