Michael Fallon resigns as defence secretary over “previous conduct”

Cabinet minister admits his behaviour has “fallen below the high standards” expected of a minister.

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Michael Fallon has resigned as defence secretary, it has been announced. In a letter to the prime minister, he admitted his behaviour had "fallen below the high standards" expected of a minister.

Earlier this week, he admitted touching a female journalist's knee. It is understood that he told the prime minister he could not guarantee further, similar allegations would not emerge in the coming days.

The BBC's former political editor Nick Robinson has tweeted that he expects a limited reshuffle: "1 up, 1 in". He also posted this tweet: 

ITV political editor Robert Peston adds:

In his resignation letter, Fallon said that many allegations about his previous conduct were "false" but he had "reflected on his position". 

in her reply, the prime minister Theresa May thanked Fallon for the "characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position" and expresses hope that he will continue to serve his constituents. She was due to appear at the Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year Awards tonight, but has pulled out.

Helen Lewis is associate editor of the New Statesman. She regularly appears on BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and the News Quiz, and is writing a history of feminism for Jonathan Cape