Michael Fallon

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The Right Honourable
Sir Michael Fallon
KCB MP
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
Minister of State for Portsmouth
In office
16 January 2014 – 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Matt Hancock
Minister of State for Energy
In office
28 March 2013 – 15 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
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
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
Preceded by The Lord Ashcroft
Succeeded by Sarah Newton
Under-Secretary of State for Education
In office
24 July 1990 – 14 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Robert Jackson
Succeeded by Eric Forth
Member of Parliament
for Sevenoaks
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Mark Wolfson
Majority 21,917 (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 65)
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Wendy Elisabeth Payne (m. 1986)
Children 2
Alma mater University of St Andrews

Sir Michael Cathel Fallon, KCB (born 14 May 1952) is a British politician of the Conservative Party serving as 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 (2010–12), Minister of State for Business and Enterprise (2012–14), Minister of State for Energy (2013–14), and Minister of State for Portsmouth (2014).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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]

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

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]

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]

Attitude towards Europe

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]

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.[19] The former political editor of The Independent on Sunday, Jane Merrick, revealed in The Observer in early November 2017 that the previously unnamed Fallon was the 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.[20]

Personal life

Fallon has been married to Wendy Elisabeth Payne, a HR professional, since 27 September 1986; the couple have two sons.[21][22] 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.[23]

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.[24]

Publications

  • The Quango Explosion: Public Bodies and Ministerial Patronage by Philip Holland and Michael Fallon, 1978, Conservative Political Centre ISBN 0-85070-621-1
  • Sovereign Members by Michael Fallon, 1982
  • The Rise of the Euroquango by Michael Fallon, 1982, Adam Smith Institute ISBN 0-906517-22-2
  • Brighter Schools: Attracting Private Investment into State Schools by Michael Fallon, 1993, Social Market Foundation ISBN 1-874097-15-1

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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ Watts, Joe (3 November 2017). "Sir Michael Fallon resigned after Andrea Leadsom accused him of sexually inappropriate language". The Independent. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "Vote 2001 - Michael Fallon". BBC News. Retrieved 9 November 2017. 
  23. ^ The Guardian, News in Brief, 5 July 1983:
  24. ^ "No. 61678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 August 2016. p. RH3. 

External links

  • Michael Fallon website
  • Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
  • Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
  • Contributions in Parliament during 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 at Hansard Archives
  • Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
  • Voting record at Public Whip
  • Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
  • Debrett's People of Today
  • Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: Michael Fallon MP
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
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