Sir Gavin Williamson has resigned from his cabinet role amid an investigation into bullying claims. Williamson is said to have sent offensive text messages to former chief whip Wendy Morton, as well bullying other colleagues.
Morton has lodged a formal complaint against Williamson, after he is said to have sent a text message filled with profanities to the former chief whip in regard to not being granted an invite to the Queen’s funeral in September. He is also accused of bullying a former Ministry of Defence colleague.
Williamson has maintained that he has not taken part in any wrongdoing. The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was warned that the MP had a formal complaint lodged against him 24 hours before he took office, had previously said that he had “total confidence” in the MP amid the bullying allegations.
Sunak has already been under fire for his Cabinet appointments after promising to restore trust within his party. Before Williamson was hitting the headlines, Home Secretary Suella Braverman faced questions over her re-appointment to the role, which happened only six days after she was forced to resign over a security breach.
While Braverman stood firm in her role, Williamson has bowed out amid the investigation into his conduct. The investigation into his behaviour will continue.
What did Gavin Williamson say in his resignation letter?
In his resignation letter to Rishi Sunak, Williamson said: “As you know, there is an ongoing complaints process concerning text messages I sent to a colleague. I am complying with this process and have apologised to the recipient for those messages.
Since then, there have been other allegations made about my past conduct. I refute the characterisation of these claims, but I recognise these are becoming a distraction for the good work this Government is doing.
“I have therefore decided to step back from Government so that I can comply fully with the complaints process that is under way and clear my name of any wrongdoing. It is with real sadness that I tender my resignation, but I want to take this opportunity to offer my full and total support from the back benches. I am incredibly proud to have worked with you in Government over the last few years and during the campaign.”
What did Rishi Sunak say about the resignation?
In reponse to Williamson’s resignation, Sunak commended the former Minister’s “committment” to government. He said: “It is with great sadness that I accept your resignation. I know your commitment to successive Conservative governments and the party over the years has been unwavering.
“I support your decision to step back and understand why you have taken it. I would like to thank you for your personal support and loyalty.
“I know you will continue to represent your constituents with diligence and care. I also want to express my gratitude for the work you have done for this Government.”