Swanley and Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon has apologised for putting his hand on a female journalist's knee more than 15 years ago.

Sir Michael apologised for touching radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer's knee at a party conference dinner in 2002.

Ms Hartley-Brewer said she does not regard the incident as anything more than "mildly amusing".

A spokesman for Sir Michael, who has served as Sevenoaks MP since 1997, said: "He had apologised when the incident happened 15 years ago and both Julia and he now considered the matter closed."

According to the Press Association, a friend of Sir Michael's said he overstepped the mark 15 years ago and he apologised.

Following reports about the incident Ms Hartley-Brewer took to Twitter to clarify her position.

In a statement, she said: "I have spoken previously about a Cabinet Minister who repeatedly put his hand on my knee during a party conference dinner.

"I calmly and politely explained to him that if he did it again I would 'punch him in the face'.

"He withdrew his hand and that was the end of the matter.

"I have had no issues since with the man in question and do not regard the incident as anything but mildly amusing.

"I believe it absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting - and even misjudged sexual overtures - between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault."