Michael Fallon, New Defence Minister, Accused Of Calling Telegraph Journalist Bryony Gordon 'A Sl*t'

27/07/2014 11:32 | Updated 27 July 2014

New defence secretary Michael Fallon, who was promoted to be part of David Cameron's "female friendly cabinet", has been accused of calling a woman "a slut".

After the reshuffle, Telegraph journalist Bryony Gordon, who has written a memoir describing her wild life in her 20s, claimed a member of the new cabinet has used the word to describe her.

Writing in The Telegraph after Fallon's promotion, Gordon described the incident but refused to name the minister or say where it happened.

michael fallon

Fallon has been accused of calling a female journalist 'a slut'

She wrote the mystery Tory asked her: "If you work at the Telegraph, do you know that slut who writes that column at the back of the magazine? What’s her name? Bryony Gordon?"

"The room seemed to fall silent," Gordon wrote. "'Yes,' I managed to respond. 'I know her very well, because that slut is me.'"

Gordon, 33, said that the minister "blushed crimson and spent the rest of the evening apologising profusely. Let’s hope his new career in the Cabinet comes with training to make him less gaffe-prone".

The Mail On Sunday said it has established the minister was Fallon and the incident happened in a Pimlico bar in July, 2010, at a leaving party for a Telegraph journalist that Cameron also attended.

He declined to comment when the paper contacted him, it reported.

Fallon replaced Philip Hammond as defence secretary in a reshuffle that saw women promoted to new posts, in what was seen as a bid to make the Tories more palatable to female voters ahead of next year's general election.

The paper quoted a source "close to Mr Fallon", who told the tabloid: "There were a load of people there, a lot of drink had been taken.

"There was a jokey conversation. She was upset at something he said, which is why he apologised to her. They were talking about her column, which was all about her escapades, to put it mildly.

"He referred to them in the wrong way, which went down badly and he apologised for that, but he did not use the word 'slut'.

"He does not go round calling women sluts. Like all these stories, there’s a bit on each side. It was a remark made at 11pm after two parties."

The paper also quoted "friends" of Fallon who said Gordon had a different version of events when she first wrote about it, three weeks after it allegedly happened.

Then, she said Fallon had called her a "slattern", which the OED defines as: "Woman or girl untidy and slovenly in person, habits, or surroundings; a slut."

  • 1 Cameron's cabinet only has as many women as in 2011
    Back in 2011, Cameron had five women as full cabinet members, so this increase isn't breaking any new ground.
  • 2 The reshuffle only added two extra women...
    There were 20 female Tory ministers in government before the reshuffle, and now there are 22.
  • 3 Cameron couldn't decide on his sixth female cabinet member
    Baroness Tina Stowell, the government's new leader in the House of Lords, was briefly a full-cabinet member before being listed as "attending cabinet", meaning that she would be paid £22,147 less than the man who did the job before her, Jonathan Hill. The Tories rushed to say they'd make up the difference from their own funds.
  • 4 France and Germany's cabinets have more women
    The French government's cabinet, presided over by prime minister Manuel Valls, has eight women (47%) out of the seventeen members. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel's German government has 6 women out of the 16 members, at 37.5%.
  • 5 It's not just our neighbours who're doing better
    Some developing countries have better proportions of women in their cabinets. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's 23-strong cabinet has seven women, at a level of 30%. Meanwhile the Rwandan cabinet has nine female members out of 24, equating to 37.5%.
  • 6 And Cameron promised to pick many more women
    Before 2010, Cameron promised that at least a third of his government would be made of women, so he looks to have more to do as less than a quarter of his ministers are women.
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