Fallon apologises for touching journalist’s knee

31 Oct

The incident involved commentator Julia Hatley-Brewer and happened at a Conservative party conference dinner in 2002.

A spokesman for Sir Michael said: “He had apologised when the incident happened 15 years ago and both Julia and he now considered the matter closed.”

A friend of Sir Michael added that while he “overstepped the mark”, the pair remain “good friends”.



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Ms Hartley-Brewer posted on Twitter that she had “spoken previously about a Cabinet minister who repeatedly put his hand on my knee during a party conference dinner”.

“I calmly and politely explained to him that if he did it again I would ‘punch him in the face’.

“He withdrew his hand and that was the end of the matter.

“I have had no issues since with the man in question and do not regard the incident as anything but mildly amusing.”

When Sir Michael’s identity was revealed by The Sun, Ms Hartley-Brewer added: “This ‘incident’ happened in 2002. No one was remotely upset or distressed by it. My knees remain intact.”

The revelation comes as a series of sex assault and harassment claims brew in Westminster.

A whistle-blower helpline will be “strengthened” and told to recommend all serious allegations to police as a result, the Government announced on Monday.

But the scandal threatens to implicate more of Prime Minister Theresa May’s allies.

A spreadsheet compiled by Tory researchers of alleged sexual activities by 40 MPs names multiple Cabinet ministers.

The redacted spreadsheet of the alleged sexual activities of Tory MPs
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A spreadsheet has been drawn up of Tory MPs’ alleged sexual activities

The list – seen by Sky News – includes claims that some parliamentarians are “handsy with women” and “inappropriate with female and male staff”.

Labour’s Rupa Huq also told Sky News a male MEP’s “slithering hands found their way onto me” when she worked in the European Parliament in the 1990s.

The PM has condemned all “completely unacceptable” allegations in Westminster.

But her spokesman refused to say she was confident there was no sexual misconduct by Cabinet ministers she was aware of that has yet to be revealed.

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