LONDON— Britain’s defense minister resigned Wednesday after allegations emerged about inappropriate sexual behavior – the latest twist in a growing scandal over harassment and abuse in the country’s corridors of power.

Michael Fallon said in a resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that his “previous conduct … may have fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces.”

Fallon, 65, was first elected to Parliament in 1983 and has been defense secretary since 2014.

A newspaper reported last weekend that Fallon had repeatedly touched a journalist’s knee at a function in 2002. The journalist in question said she had shrugged off the incident, but reports suggested that other allegations about Fallon might soon emerge.

Accepting his resignation, May said she appreciated “the characteristically serious manner in which you have considered your position.”

The scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has emboldened people in many industries to speak up about sexual harassment or attacks at the hands of powerful individuals who control their future job prospects.

In Britain, it has produced soul-searching about the growing number of reports of sexual harassment and abuse in politics.

May has called a meeting of party leaders to discuss how to deal with the topic, amid a growing roster of allegations about inappropriate behavior by politicians and parliamentary staff.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.