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Michael Fallon faces another grope claim

Another woman said to have accused the MP of inappropriate physical contact It comes just hours afte..

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  • Another woman said to have accused the MP of inappropriate physical contact
  • It comes just hours after it emerged that Andrea Leadsom lodged a complaint
  • It followed claims by radio host Julia Hartley Brewer that Fallon repeatedly put his hand on her knee 15 years ago

By Scott Campbell For Mailonline

Published: 17:54 EDT, 3 November 2017 | Updated: 06:45 EDT, 4 November 2017

Sir Michael Fallon today cut a despondent figure as he traipsed through the November rain to face his Sevenoaks constituents after sensationally quitting cabinet over the 'Sexminster' scandal.

The former defence secretary is facing a third sex pest claim after a woman last night accused him of inappropriate physical contact just hours after it emerged that his rival Andrea Leadsom had lodged a complaint.

It was yesterday claimed that Mrs Leadsom 'knifed' Fallon after he branded her a 'dud' who would need to be sacked to push through a Brexit deal.

A friend of the 65-year-old says that no specific allegation has been put to him and that he is unaware of the woman's identity. She is not thought to be a politician.

Sir Michael Fallon is facing a new grope claim after a third woman came forward with allegations against the ex-Defence Secretary

Anna Soubry told said the prime minister's team was approached by a 'person with great courage' who made allegations against Fallon.

'Michael Fallon had to resign because of his behaviour towards women,' she said.

'One person with great courage made a complaint to No 10 of sexual assault.

'Theresa May made it very clear she took these allegations seriously and within hours he had gone.'

The former defence secretary has described the allegation as untrue and libellous.

'I’ve already accepted that I have behaved inappropriately in the past but I have never physically assaulted anybody,' he said, adding no specific allegation was put to him.

Police have not received a formal report of any alleged misconduct and Number 10 has not commented.

A friend of Fallon says that no specific allegation has been put to him and that he is unaware of the woman's identity. She is not thought to be a politicianA friend of Fallon says that no specific allegation has been put to him and that he is unaware of the woman's identity. She is not thought to be a politician

A friend of Fallon says that no specific allegation has been put to him and that he is unaware of the woman's identity. She is not thought to be a politician

Ms Soubry refused to discuss details of the allegations, saying it is essential the woman's anonymity is preserved.

'I think it’s really important to protect people [making complaints],' she said.

'This is very serious. We are talking about real human beings and protecting people who [claim to] have been abused, however serious or less serious it may be, it was for them extremely serious and they deserve to be protected and they deserve to be respected.'

It followed claims by radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer that Fallon repeatedly put his hand on her knee 15 years ago.

He resigned on Wednesday warning that there could be further revelations about his conduct with women as sources compared him to 'Jekyll and Hyde' while drinking.

The journalist says Sir Michael Fallon has told her he does not blame her for his resignation.

In a resignation statement, the Defence Secretary, 65, said his past behaviour had ‘fallen below the high standards we require of the Armed Forces’.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Ms Hartley-Brewer said it appeared claims subsequent to hers 'may have been the final nail in his coffin'.

'Since his resignation, I have exchanged text messages with Sir Michael in which he made it abundantly clear that he does not blame me for his resignation,' she said.

The journalist said the chain of events had been set off 'completely by accident' when she told what she thought was an 'amusing story'.

Andrea Leadsom, pictured, and Julia Hartley Brewer have both made allegations against FallonAndrea Leadsom, pictured, and Julia Hartley Brewer have both made allegations against FallonAndrea Leadsom and Julia Hartley Brewer, pictured right, have both made allegations against FallonAndrea Leadsom and Julia Hartley Brewer, pictured right, have both made allegations against Fallon

Andrea Leadsom, pictured left, and Julia Hartley Brewer, right, have both made allegations against Fallon

Ms Hartley-Brewer said she had threatened to 'punch an MP in the face for repeatedly putting his hand on my knee' at the 2002 Tory party conference, but she had told the tale 'without malice aforethought'.

Voicing concern over the current furore over sleaze in Westminster, she said it risks 'returning to a puritanical age where every interaction between any male politician and any woman he has ever met is now the subject of righteous investigation'.

Ms Hartley-Brewer said Westminster was in the grip of a 'media witchhunt' that risked creating a 'sterile world, where men and women never speak or touch in the workplace'.

It comes amid a sexual harassment scandal that is sweeping Westminster (stock photo)It comes amid a sexual harassment scandal that is sweeping Westminster (stock photo)

It comes amid a sexual harassment scandal that is sweeping Westminster (stock photo)

'That's not the world most of us want to live in,' she said.

People close to the MP acknowledged he had been braced for the possibility of more claims about his behaviour and three years ago he was accused of calling journalist Bryony Gordon a ‘slut’ at a party.

After the latest allegation, Sir Michael told The Sun: 'I’ve already accepted that I may have behaved inappropriately in the past. That’s why I resigned.'

Yesterday it emerged that Mrs Leadsom, the Leader of the Commons, complained directly to Theresa May about ‘vile’ language used by Sir Michael towards her at a parliamentary meeting six years ago.

He is said to have told Mrs Leadsom, who had complained of cold hands: ‘I know where you can put them to warm them up.’

Sir Michael is alleged to have been ‘tactile’ and put his arm around Mrs Leadsom in what a source described as ‘unwanted attention’.

However there was a backlash against Mrs Leadsom who was accused of speaking out to further her own career.

One senior Tory raged: 'What the f*** does Leadsom think she is doing?'

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Australia

Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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