The Government has been thrown into chaos after a double whammy of a Brexit bombshell and the first casualty of the sex list scandal.
After being named among more than 30 Tory MPs accused of sexual impropriety Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon quit the cabinet sensationally telling the Prime Minister: ‘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. I have reflected on my position and I am therefore resigning.’
And Sir Michael’s resignation came as Labour secured a major Brexit victory as they piled on the pressure for the Government to release a series of Brexit impact studies.
During a stormy Commons debate Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer demanded the papers were released to allow the full details of the damage leaving the EU will inflict on Britain to be made public.
Although Labour won the uncontested vote confusion about whether the vote was binding led to the opposition using an arcane rule which urges the Queen to request the vote is acted upon.
The Government’s next move is as yet unclear but ignoring the vote would cause huge controversy.
Sir Michael’s resignation will shake the cabinet – but could offer the Prime Minister the opportunity for the reshuffle she has longed for but has been too weak to enact.
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, he said: ‘A number of allegations have surfaced about MPs in recent days, including some about my previous conduct.
‘Many of these have been false but 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.’
In her reply to the resignation letter, May said: ‘I appreciate the characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position, and the particular example you wish to set to servicemen and women and others.’
Sir Michael’s decision to quit came just hours after May invited Westminster’s party leaders to crisis talks on Monday to discuss plans for tackling sexual abuse and harassment.