Michael Fallon

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Sir Michael Fallon

Official portrait of Sir Michael Fallon crop 2.jpg
Secretary of State for Defence
In office
15 July 2014 1 November 2017
Prime Minister David Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded by Philip Hammond
Succeeded by Gavin Williamson
Ministerial Offices 2012-14
Minister for Portsmouth
In office
16 January 2014 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Sec. of State Eric Pickles
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded by Matt Hancock
Minister of State for Energy
In office
28 March 2013 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Sec. of State Ed Davey
Preceded by John Hayes
Succeeded by Matt Hancock
Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
In office
4 September 2012 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Sec. of State Vince Cable
Preceded by Mark Prisk
Succeeded by Matt Hancock
Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
4 September 2010 4 September 2012
Leader David Cameron
Chairman The Baroness Warsi
The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Preceded by The Lord Ashcroft
Succeeded by Sarah Newton
Government Roles 1988-92
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education
In office
24 July 1990 14 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Sec. of State John MacGregor
Ken Clarke
Preceded by Robert Jackson
Succeeded by Eric Forth
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
10 May 1990 22 July 1990
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Chancellor John Major
Preceded by Stephen Dorrell
Succeeded by Greg Knight
Assistant Government Whip
In office
26 July 1988 22 July 1990
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Chief Whip David Waddington
Tim Renton
Member of Parliament
for Sevenoaks
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Mark Wolfson
Majority21,917 (42.8%)
Member of Parliament
for Darlington
In office
9 June 1983 9 April 1992
Preceded by Ossie O'Brien
Succeeded by Alan Milburn
Personal details
Born
Michael Cathel Fallon

(1952-05-14) 14 May 1952 (age 66)
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s)
Wendy Elisabeth Payne(m. 1986)
Children2
Alma mater University of St Andrews

Sir Michael Cathel Fallon KCB MP (born 14 May 1952) is a British politician of the Conservative Party serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sevenoaks since 1997. From 2014 to 2017, he was Secretary of State for Defence and a member of the National Security Council. He was previously Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (2010–2012), Minister of State for Business and Enterprise (2012–2014), Minister of State for Energy (2013–2014), and Minister of State for Portsmouth (2014).

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, and also has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors.

A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the voters to a parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this category includes specifically members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title. Member of Congress is an equivalent term in other jurisdictions.

Sevenoaks (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Sevenoaks is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 1997 by Sir Michael Fallon, a Conservative, who served as Secretary of State for Defence until 1 November 2017. It is considered a safe Conservative seat.

Contents

Early life and career

Fallon was born in Perth, Scotland, to Martin Fallon OBE, a surgeon. He was educated at Craigflower Preparatory School near Dunfermline and at Epsom College, an independent boys' school in Surrey. He then read Classics and Ancient History at the University of St Andrews, graduating in 1974 with a Master of Arts (MA) degree.

Perth, Scotland City in Scotland

Perth is a city in central Scotland, on the banks of the River Tay. It is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire. It has a population of about 47,180. Perth has been known as The Fair City since the publication of the story Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. During the later medieval period the city was also called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun by its inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St John the Baptist. This name is preserved by the city's football teams, St Johnstone F.C.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Craigflower Preparatory School was an independent preparatory school for boys at Torryburn near Dunfermline, Scotland.

As a student, Fallon was active in the European Movement and the "Yes" youth campaign in the 1975 referendum. After university he joined the Conservative Research Department, working first for Lord Carrington in the House of Lords until 1977 and then as European Desk Officer until 1979. He became Research Assistant to Baroness Elles in 1979, around the time that she became an MEP.

The Conservative Research Department (CRD) is part of the central organisation of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. It operates alongside other departments of Conservative Campaign Headquarters in Westminster.

Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington British Conservative politician

Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington,, was a British Conservative politician and hereditary peer who served as Defence Secretary from 1970 to 1974, Foreign Secretary from 1979 to 1982, chairman of British General Electric Company from 1983 to 1984, and Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. Before his death in 2018, he was the last surviving member of the 1951–55 government of Winston Churchill, the Eden government, and the Macmillan government, as well as of the cabinets of Alec Douglas-Home and Edward Heath. Following the House of Lords Act 1999, which removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Carrington was created a life peer as Baron Carington of Upton.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

Parliamentary career

He was selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Darlington in July 1982, and fought the Darlington by-election on 24 March 1983, which was held after the Labour MP Ted Fletcher had died. Although Fallon lost to Labour's Ossie O'Brien by 2,412 votes, he defeated O'Brien 77 days later by 3,438 votes in the 1983 general election. He remained MP for Darlington until the 1992 general election, when he was defeated by Labour's Alan Milburn by a margin of 2,798 votes.

Darlington (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Darlington is the parliamentary constituency for the market town of the same name in County Durham in the North East of England. It is currently represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament by Jenny Chapman of the Labour Party, who first became its MP in 2010, and is regarded as a semi-marginal Labour seat.

Edward Joseph Fletcher, known as Ted Fletcher, was a British Labour Party politician.

Alan Milburn British politician

Alan Milburn is a British Labour politician who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Darlington from 1992 to 2010. He served for five years in the Cabinet, first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1998 to 1999, and subsequently as Secretary of State for Health until 2003, when he resigned. He briefly rejoined the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in order to manage Labour's 2005 re-election campaign. In June 2009, he told his local party he would not be standing at the 2010 general election, saying: "Standing down as a MP will give me the chance to balance my work and my family life with the time to pursue challenges other than politics."

He re-entered Parliament at the 1997 general election, holding the safe Conservative constituency of Sevenoaks following the retirement of the sitting Tory MP, Mark Wolfson.

Palace of Westminster Meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom,

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

Geoffrey Mark Wolfson OBE, known as Mark Wolfson, was Conservative MP for Sevenoaks from 1979 until he retired in 1997.

Fallon was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Energy Cecil Parkinson following the 1987 general election, and in 1988 joined the government of Margaret Thatcher as an Assistant Whip, becoming a Lord Commissioner to the Treasury in 1990. Fallon, alongside Michael Portillo and Michael Forsyth, visited Margaret Thatcher on the eve of her resignation in a last-ditch and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to persuade her to reconsider her decision. [1]

Parliamentary Private Secretary

A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a United Kingdom or New Zealand Member of Parliament (MP) designated by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as the minister's contact with MPs. This role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by one or more departments.

Cecil Parkinson British politician

Cecil Edward Parkinson, Baron Parkinson, PC was a British Conservative politician and cabinet minister.

Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was a British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her "The 'Iron Lady'", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies known as Thatcherism.

Junior Minister in the Department for Education and Science

Thatcher appointed Fallon Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Education and Science in July 1990, a position he continued to hold under the new premiership of John Major. In this office Fallon headed legislation that led to the local management of schools, [2] which among other changes gave schools a greater degree of financial independence, including control of their own bank accounts and cheque books. [3] He remained in that office until his 1992 general election defeat.

Outside Parliament, 1992–1997

Between 1992 and 1997, Fallon set up a chain of children’s nurseries called Just Learning with funding from the British Dragons' Den member Duncan Bannatyne, becoming chief executive. [4]

Return to the House of Commons

Following his return to Parliament at the 1997 general election he was appointed Opposition Spokesman for Trade and Industry and then Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, but he resigned from the front-bench owing to ill-health in October 1998, and remained on the backbenches until his promotion as Deputy Chairman of the Party.

From 1999 he was a member of the Treasury Select Committee, and chairman of its Sub-Committee (2001–10). He also served as a 1922 Committee executive between 2005–07.

In September 2012, he was made Privy Councillor [5] upon his appointment as Minister for Business and Enterprise.

Fallon has been a director at Tullett Prebon, a leading brokerage firm in the City of London, and one of the biggest supporters of the privatisation of Royal Mail. [6]

In January 2014, Fallon was appointed Minister for Portsmouth, [7] subsequently being promoted to the Cabinet, on 15 July 2014, as Secretary of State for Defence.

Secretary of State for Defence

Fallon with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, July 2017 SD meets with UK's Secretary of State for Defence 170707-D-SV709-176 (35392759950).jpg
Fallon with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, July 2017

In February 2016, the week after a leaked United Nations report had found the Saudi-led coalition guilty of conducting "widespread and systematic" air strikes against civilians in Yemen [8] – including camps for internally displaced people, weddings, schools, hospitals, religious centers, vehicles and markets [9] – and the same day the International Development Select Committee had said that the UK should end all arms exports to Saudi Arabia because of ongoing, large-scale human rights violations by the Kingdom's armed forces in Yemen, Fallon was criticised for attending a £450-a-head dinner for an arms-industry trade-body. [10]

Fallon during the Munich Security Conference in 2016 IMSC Future-of-NATO Zwez 5F3A1329.jpg
Fallon during the Munich Security Conference in 2016

In December 2016, Fallon admitted that UK-supplied internationally banned cluster munitions had been used in Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign in Yemen. [11]

In April 2017, Fallon confirmed that the UK would use its nuclear weapons in a "pre-emptive initial strike" in "the most extreme circumstances" on BBC Radio's Today programme. [12]

European Union

In an interview by The Daily Telegraph in 2016, before the EU membership referendum, Fallon described himself as Eurosceptic, and critical of many aspects of the EU, but said that he wanted Britain to remain in the EU, in the face of multiple threats from Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, crime, and international terrorism. [13]

Run-up to the 2015 general election

During the run-up to the 2015 general election, Fallon wrote an article in The Times saying that Ed Miliband had stabbed his brother in the back to become Labour leader and he would also stab Britain in the back to become prime minister. Fallon subsequently declined the opportunity to describe Miliband as a decent person and his comments embarrassed some Conservative supporters. Miliband's response saying that Fallon had fallen below his usual standards and demeaned himself were seen by the New Statesman as dignified, contrasting with Fallon's counter-productive personal attack. [14]

Expenses scandal

According to The Daily Telegraph Fallon, Deputy Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, claimed for mortgage repayments on his Westminster flat in their entirety. MPs are only allowed to claim for interest charges. [15]

Between 2002 and 2004, Fallon regularly claimed £1,255 per month in capital repayments and interest, rather than the £700-£800 for the interest component alone. [15] After his error was noticed by staff at the Commons Fees Office in September 2004, he asked: "Why has no one brought this to my attention before?" [15] He repaid £2,200 of this over-claim, but was allowed to offset the remaining £6,100 against his allowance. After realising they had failed to notice the excessive claims, Commons staff reportedly suggested Fallon submit fresh claims which would "reassign" the surplus payments to other costs he had legitimately incurred. [15]

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour and resignation

In late October 2017 it was reported that Fallon had repeatedly and inappropriately touched journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer's knee during a dinner in 2002. [16] Hartley-Brewer recalled that after Fallon kept putting his hand on her knee, she "calmly and politely explained to him, that if he did it again, I would punch him in the face". [17] Fallon resigned two days later believing his "previous conduct" towards women had "fallen below" what is acceptable. [18] Hartley-Brewer expressed shock at the resignation, saying "I didn’t feel it was something that needed any further dealing with". [19]

It was subsequently reported Fallon had been forced to resign in part due to an allegation of inappropriate and lewd comments towards fellow Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom when they both sat on the Treasury Select Committee. He was also accused of making comments of a sexual nature about other MPs on the committee and members of the public who attended hearings. [20] The former political editor of The Independent on Sunday , Jane Merrick, said in The Observer in early November 2017 that Fallon was the previously unnamed Conservative MP who had "lunged" at her a decade and a half earlier. She had contacted Downing Street about the incident several hours before he resigned. [21] The Observer reported on the same day that "the revelation was the tipping point for No 10, which ... had been compiling a list of alleged incidents involving Fallon since claims against him were first made." [22]

Personal life

Fallon has been married to Wendy Elisabeth Payne, a HR professional, since 27 September 1986; the couple have two sons. [23] [24] The family lives in Sundridge, Kent.

He was banned from driving for 18 months in 1983 after admitting a drink-driving offence during the general election campaign. [25]

Fallon was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) for political and public service as part of the Resignation Honours of the outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron. [26]

Publications

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References

  1. "Extract from Margaret Thatcher The Downing Street Years" [ permanent dead link ], Margaret Thatcher Foundation, London 1993, Retrieved on 18 April 2016
  2. "Secondary Schooling". They Work for You. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  3. "Schools: 19 July 1991". They Work for You. 19 July 1991. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  4. Holland, Tiffany (14 September 2012). "Profile: Michael Fallon, Minister for business". Retail Week . Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  5. Watt, Holly (5 September 2012). "Michael Fallon becomes business minister". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  6. "Debate on Royal Mail Privatisation". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  7. "BBC News – Minister for Portsmouth to be Michael Fallon". BBC News . Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  8. MacAskill, Ewen (27 January 2016). "UN report into Saudi-led strikes in Yemen raises questions over UK role". The Guardian . Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  9. Gladstone, Rick (31 January 2016). "Saudi Coalition in Yemen Announces Inquiry Into Bombings". The New York Times . Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. Stone, Jon (3 February 2016). "Ministers wined-and-dined by arms trade hours after MPs demand ban on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia". The Independent . Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  11. Cowburn, Ashley (19 December 2016). "British manufactured cluster bombs have been used in Yemen by Saudi Arabia, Michael Fallon admits". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  12. Merrick, Rob (24 April 2017). "Theresa May would fire UK's nuclear weapons as a 'first strike', says Defence Secretary Michael Fallon". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  13. "Strength in numbers: Michael Fallon backs staying with Europe". The Daily Telegraph. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  14. Eaton, George (9 April 2015). "Michael Fallon's attack backfires, leaving Miliband to emerge as the decent man". New Statesman . Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Swaine, Jon (21 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Michael Fallon claimed £8,300 too much in mortgage expenses". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  16. Rayner, Gordon (31 October 2017). "Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon admits touching female radio presenter's knee at a dinner". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  17. "Michael Fallon 'apologised for touching journalist's knee'". BBC News. 31 October 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  18. "Fallon resigns as Defence Secretary over behaviour claims". BBC News. 1 November 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  19. "Journalist touched on knee by Fallon calls resignation 'insane'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  20. Watts, Joe (3 November 2017). "Sir Michael Fallon resigned after Andrea Leadsom accused him of sexually inappropriate language". The Independent. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  21. Merrick, Jane (4 November 2017). "I won't keep my silence: Michael Fallon lunged at me after our lunch". The Observer . Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  22. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/04/michael-fallon-defence-secretary-sexual-harassment
  23. Settle, Michael (2 November 2017). "Humiliated Sir Michael Fallon quits as Defence Secretary as sex scandal sweeps Westminster". The Herald . Glasgow. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  24. "Vote 2001 - Michael Fallon". BBC News. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  25. The Guardian, News in Brief, 5 July 1983:
  26. "No. 61678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 August 2016. p. RH3.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ossie O'Brien
Member of Parliament
for Darlington

1983–1992
Succeeded by
Alan Milburn
Preceded by
Mark Wolfson
Member of Parliament
for Sevenoaks

1997–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Ashcroft
Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Sarah Newton
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Jackson
Under-Secretary of State for Education
1990–1992
Succeeded by
Eric Forth
Preceded by
Mark Prisk
Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
2012–2014
Succeeded by
Matt Hancock
Preceded by
John Hayes
Minister of State for Energy
2013–2014
New office Minister of State for Portsmouth
2014
Preceded by
Philip Hammond
Secretary of State for Defence
2014–2017
Succeeded by
Gavin Williamson