There’s more to Fallon’s resignation than meets the eye and this is why


People have accused Michael Fallon’s BBC interview and resignation statement of lacking remorse and smacking of victim blaming.

The former defence secretary’s resignation means he will plummet to the position of backbench MP. It has emerged that Fallon was forced to quit partly due to ‘lewd comments’ he reportedly made to Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom.

The decision follows a spate of allegations involving senior members of the Conservative government. It also follows Fallon’s apology for repeatedly touching the knee of journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer at a dinner 15 years ago.

Jumping to the defence of MPs

In the opening statement of his resignation speech on Wednesday 1 November, Fallon jumped to defend MPs accused of sexual harassment:

In recent days, allegations have been made about MPs’ conduct, including my own. Many of these allegations have been false. But I know that in the past, I may have fallen below the high standards that we require of the armed forces that I have the honour to represent.

Victim blaming

When later asked by the BBC‘s Laura Kuenssberg if he was worried that more allegations might come out, Fallon said:

Well, the culture has changed now. What might have been acceptable 10 or 15 years ago is clearly not acceptable now.

Fallon’s attempt to use such defensive language to blame the victim met with disgust and disbelief.

No remorse

Kuenssberg asked if he felt compelled to apologise, but Fallon failed to demonstrate remorse or compassion:

I believe we’ve all got to look back now at the past. There are always things you regret, you would have done differently.

Beginning of the Tory end?

News of Fallon’s resignation also triggered speculation across social media that this could be the beginning of the end for the Conservative government.

Nightmare on Newsnight

But all hell broke out again when Newsnight took the baton with its panel of 14 men and three women discussing sexual harassment.

From questioning the silence of sexually abused women, to debating the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, social media users slammed the BBC for instigating victim-blaming conversations.

Fallon’s resignation served to justify scandalous activity within the darkest chambers of Westminster. Meanwhile, a veneer of humility glossed over why he stepped down. But with accusations from Andrea Leadsom and ongoing analysis, it’s becoming clearer why he did.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he vowed to work hard for Sevenoaks constituents. But their response to the debacle will be interesting to observe. And with his position as MP already being questioned, it could be just a matter of time before he resigns from this post too.

Get Involved!

– Make your thoughts on the situation known. Contact your MP and be vocal on social media.

– You can also read more Canary articles on Michael Fallon.

Featured image via David Mirzoeff

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