Fallon Resigns

Michael Fallon has resigned as Defence Secretary following the Westminster harassment scandal. Who’s next?

Fallon letter:

UPDATE: Fallon speaks to Laura K:

Fallon: I’m Sorry For Touching Julia’s Knee

First Cabinet minister named by the Sun as Michael Fallon, who admits touching Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee. He says sorry…

UPDATE: Statement from Julia, who says she is not a victim:

“I have received a number of calls today from newspapers and broadcasters asking me to comment on a claim that I was the victim of sexual harassment by a current Cabinet minister.

I have 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, which is why I have declined to name him. It has also been claimed that the same minister made remarks to me about my breasts. If he did, I certainly don’t recall those comments.

Wild rumours and claims are circulating about many male MPs at Westminster in a media feeding frenzy. I have worked in and around Westminster for 20 years and, as far as I am aware, incidents of genuine harassment involve only a small number of MPs from all parties.

I believe it is absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting – and even misjudged sexual overtures – between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault.

It demeans genuine victims of real offences. Anyone with any allegations against an MP, or anyone else, should speak up now and provide the evidence to ensure any necessary action is taken.

I have not been a victim and I don’t wish to take part in what I believe has now become a Westminster witch hunt.”

Fallon: We’re Leaving, Blair Has to Get Over It

As Fallon says of Blair’s newfound desire to end freedom of movement: “It’s a pity he didn’t think of that when all these countries were admitted to the EU on his watch…”

Marr to Fallon: “Are You Repulsed By Gay People?”

Fallon Assad Ambush

Of course Fallon meeting Assad is not comparable to Corbyn’s support for the IRA (and Corbyn met Assad too).

Nonetheless a successful ambush from Thornberry…

Fallon on Corbyn and Putin

Michael Fallon deployed early on:

“Russia will be watching Labour’s feebleness that Jeremy Corbyn has not supported this deployment… Putin would certainly welcome feebler British defence.”

‘Michael Fallon’s Bodyguard’ Shot Attacker Dead

According to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, it was Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s SO1 close protection officer shot the attacker dead inside parliament yesterday. One source tells Guido’s the officer was in Fallon’s bulletproof BMW parked inside parliament a few metres away and he ran over, withdrew a handgun from underneath his suit jacket and shot him. This explains why it was a plain clothes police officer who was seen at the scene. The only ministers with BMWs and SO1 protection officers are the Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary. This will raise huge questions about the security aspect of the attack – if Fallon and his team were not in parliament at that exact moment, would an officer have been there to shoot the attacker? Team Fallon say they cannot comment. 

What Did Cameron Say to Fallon?

Great spot by Chris Ship – what is Cameron saying to Michael Fallon at the Iraq service yesterday? Certainly looks like the words “breaking a manifesto promise” and “stupid thing to do”. Fallon nods along. Lip-readers get in touch…

Fallon’s Fashion

Following in the style footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld, Marck Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, the defence secretary keeps it simple with an “edited” wardrobe. Commendable…

Hat-tip: Henry Mance

Bercow Caught on Hot Mic Calling Fallon “Stupid”

The Speaker thought his mic was off at the end of the Trident urgent question, when he told a clerk:

“To pick a fight with the chairman of the select committee is a rather stupid thing to do.”

The chairman of the select committee is Julian Lewis, Bercow’s best friend. Michael Fallon had just ignored Lewis’ request to attend the Defence select committee tomorrow. Seems the Speaker was calling Michael Fallon stupid…

Government’s Trident Spin Misfires

Below Guido tracks the government’s spin on the Trident misfire over the last 48 hours:

  • Saturday night: Sunday Times reports “serious malfunction” during Trident test, missile “may have veered off in the wrong direction towards America”.
  • MoD says in a statement that it was “successfully tested and certified”.
  • Sunday: On Marr, Theresa May refuses to answer questions about what she knew and when.
  • Monday morning: Number 10 spokesman insists the test was “successful” in certifying the crew and submarine. Says May was informed. Won’t say if she was told about any ‘misfire’.
  • Monday afternoon: Michael Fallon tells Commons not to “believe everything you read” in Sunday Times. Won’t say what in their report is inaccurate. Says test was “successful” and “satisfactory“. Won’t comment on details of any ‘misfire’.
  • May repeats the “successful” line in pool interview.
  • While Fallon is speaking, US official tells CNN the test ended in failure, and that rather than “veering” towards the US coast, the trajectory was part of an automatic self-destruct sequence.

The government’s line from Saturday night to Monday afternoon is that the test was “successful”. The US now say it was a failure…

Fallon Welches on £1,000 Piers Morgan Bet

Both Michael Fallon and John Whittingdale made pre-referendum bets that, should Cameron lose the vote, he wouldn’t resign. Now Piers is calling in his bets, promising to donate the winnings to charity. Pay up, Fallon…

People occasionally ask Guido, with a sense of foreboding, when will the pundit and polling analyst Dan Hodges do his naked Brexit run? Guido will be negotiating the time and location with the sagacious streaker this week. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: Piers wants Guido to remind Whitto as well:

Media Minister Monitor: Leave Winning Air War

MMM April the ministers

Ambitious ministers with an eye on the leadership provided seven new entries for our Media Minister Monitor this month. Top of the charts is Dominic Raab, a sound-as-a-pound Eurosceptic who has been attracting admirers in recent weeks. Mooted candidates Andrea Leadsom, Stephen Crabb and Penny Mordaunt have all received their first leaderboard position since MMM started in February. Gove was in the top 10 for the first time. In total, six of the top ten are Outers. Leave are winning the ministerial air war…

Here is the spreadsheet with all the ministerial broadcast appearances for March. The rules: we monitor which ministers appeared answering questions in interviews. Note this will not include doorsteps, only scheduled appearances.

Media Minister Monitor: Fireman Fallon Deployed

MMM March the ministers

In February referendum fever saw government ministers make 55 broadcast appearances, in March Downing Street entered bunker mode and the number plunged to just 35. The statistics show Craig Oliver is enforcing a “one minister a day” policy for broadcast appearances as they look to dodge accountability. Viewers are repeatedly being told the government refused to put anyone up for interview.

You know it’s a been a tough month for Downing Street when “Fireman” Fallon tops the charts. Fallon is always deployed by No. 10 as a safe pair of hands when things are not going well, and in a month of Tory splits and Budget flops he made four appearances. Nicky Morgan is – inexplicably – being used with increasing regularity. ‘Super’ Soubry remains high up the list as a Remain spokesman, while Grayling is once again leading the charge for Leave. The highly ambitious Dominic Raab, another Outer, is an interesting new entry. The submarine Chancellor’s Budget went so well he faced interview questions just twice this month… 

Here is the spreadsheet with all the ministerial broadcast appearances for March. The rules: we monitor which ministers appeared answering questions in interviews. Note this will not include doorsteps, only scheduled appearances.

Michael Fallon on Sadiq Khan

Michael Fallon says Sadiq Khan is:

“a Labour lackey who speaks alongside extremists, proving himself unfit to perform that role. A man who has said Britain’s foreign policy is to blame for the terrorist threat. Labour cannot be trusted with our country’s security and they cannot be trusted with London’s either.”

Quote of the Day

Michael Fallon says Labour has…

“… a leader who would abolish the Armed Forces and withdraw from NATO, a shadow chancellor who wanted to disband MI5, and now a shadow defence secretary who would scrap our nuclear deterrent. North Korea’s deeply disturbing claim to have exploded its first hydrogen bomb underlines the importance of taking our national security seriously, not handing it to a Labour Party that would unilaterally disarm Britain.”

Seen Elsewhere



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Quote of the Day

Liz Truss on the next Tory leader…

“In order to command public trust we need someone who has backed Brexit from the start, because of the situation we’re in now.”

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