UK Cabinet minister refuses to criticise Donald Trump over groping comments

Michael Fallon said criticising Mr Trump would amount to 'intervening' in the US elections

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A senior British Cabinet minister has refused to criticise Donald Trump after a recording emerged of the US presidential candidate endorsing the groping of women.

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said he would work with Mr Trump if he won the presidential election next month and that he did not want to “intervene in the US election” by criticising him.

“We have to be very careful not to comment on other people’s elections, because we have to respect democracy and we have to work with whoever wins. I’m not going to intervene in the US election,” he said when asked to criticise Mr Trump on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Mr Fallon’s comments were however in contrast to those of Education Secretary Justine Greening, also made on Sunday morning television.

Of Mr Trump’s comment, Ms Greening told ITV1’s Peston on Sunday programme: “As a woman I felt they were utterly crass. Obviously it’s up to the American people to decide whether he’s the right person to be their president.”

Earlier this year Mr Fallon did not seem publicly concerned by US President Barack Obama’s support for the EU Remain campaign, which both men supported. 

Mr Trump’s comments, recorded on tape in 2005, have caused a storm in the US. The candidate has however refused to quit the race, saying to do so would let down his supporters.

On the tape, Mr Trump, who was at that time newly married to his third wife, Melania, talks about trying to sleep with a married woman, saying:

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence (EPA)

“I moved on her and I failed, I'll admit it ... I did try and fuck her. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married."

Mr Trump then talks about his approach to women in general, telling the person he is with:

“I am automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss, I don't even wait ... and when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

"Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

Mr Trump has apologised for the comments in a pre-recorded statement.

The Republican candidate's poll rating has begun to fall away in recent weeks after signs he was running Democratic party candidate Hillary Clinton close.