PMQs today: Rishi Sunak says he regrets making Gavin Williamson a Cabinet minister - who won PMQs?

Follow all the latest updates and analysis from the NationalWorld team for PMQs today.

Rishi Sunak insisted he was unaware of “any of the specific concerns” related to Sir Gavin Williamson’s tenure as defence secretary and chief whip after his resignation over bullying claims.

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday he “obviously” regrets bringing his ally back into the Cabinet as he faces questions over his judgment and what he knew at the time of the appointment. The former Cabinet minister resigned last night amid an investigation into bullying claims, after Williamson is said to have sent offensive text messages to former chief whip Wendy Morton.

Sunak was aware of a complaint by former chief whip Wendy Morton but said he did not know about the “slit your throat” complaint by a civil servant while Sir Gavin led the Ministry of Defence or his behaviour while chief whip. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer used Prime Minister’s Questions to pressure Sunak over how the allegedly bullied official felt at hearing him welcome the resignation “with great sadness”.

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Sir Keir Starmer is very likely to ask Rishi Sunak about his decision to appoint Sir Gavin Williamson as Minister without Portfolio.

Williamson is said to have sent offensive text messages to former chief whip Wendy Morton, as well bullying other colleagues. Williamson has maintained that he has not taken part in any wrongdoing.

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.

Sir Keir Starmer starts by asking about Gavin Williamson.

He says: “The member for South Staffordshire [Williamson] told another member to ‘slit their throat’. How does the PM think the victim of that bullying felt when he expressed great sadness at his resignation?”

Sunak says he did not know ‘specifics’ of Williamson behaviour

Sunak says that he was not aware of the specifics of Williamson’s behaviour.

He says: “Unequivically, the behaviour was unacceptable and it is absolutely right that Williamson has resigned. For the record, I did not know about any of the specific concerns relating to his conduct as secretary of state or Chief Whip.”

He adds that these are principles which the government will stand by.

Starmer: Williamson is ‘pathetic bully'

Starmer says that Williamson “spent years courting the idea that he could intimidate others, blurring the lines to normalise bullying behaviour - it’s precisely why the PM gave him a job”.

The Labour leader has called Williamson a “pathetic bully” adding that “he would never get away with it if people like the PM didn’t hand him power”.

Starmer asks: “Does he regret his decision to make him a government minister?”

Sunak ‘regrets’ appointing Williamson

Rishi Sunak has said he “obviously regrets appointing someone who has had to resign in these circumstances”.

He says the British people want to know that “when situations like this arise they will be dealt with properly”.

He adds that’s why it’s right Williamson resigned and there will be an investigation into it.

Starmer: Sunak is ‘weak’ boss who hides behind bullies

Starmer continues on the theme of Gavin Williamson, who, he says, is a “sad middle-manager getting off on intimidating those beneath him”.

He says the Prime Minister is the “boss who is so weak, worried the bullies will turn on him so he hides behind them”.

Starmer asks what message it sent that Sunak “thanked” Williamson for his loyalty.

Sunak takes time to return to dispatch box

Rishi Sunak appeared not to realise it was his time to answer, and took several seconds to get up to the dispatch box.

He says the message he wants to send is that “integrity in public life matters”.

He adds it’s important that the government continues to deal with issues affecting the whole country.

Starmer asks about windfall tax

Starmer says that because Sunak can’t stand up to a “run of the mill bully he has no chance in standing up to vested interests for working people”.

The Labour leader pivots to questions around a windfall tax - asking how much tax Shell has paid under the current windfall tax?

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