Buckling under heavy pressure, Conservative leader Sir Gavin Williamson on Tuesday resigned as a government minister, a little more than a fortnight after his appointment into the Rishi Sunak cabinet.
Taking to Twitter, Williamson posted a letter where he stopped short of apologising for his actions but said the controversy was impacting the working of the government and thus he decided to resign.
“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,” read the letter.
— Gavin Williamson (@GavinWilliamson) November 8, 2022
“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 for the British people,” added Williamson.
The Tory leader said he was stepping back from the government so that he could “comply fully with the complaints process that is underway” and clear his name.
What is the controversy?
The controversy dates back to the time when Theresa May resided at 10, Downing Street. As the defence secretary, Williamson intimidated a senior civil worker in the Ministry of Defence and asked them to “slit” their throat and suggested that they ‘jump’ out the window.
The particular allegation comes in the backdrop of Williamson’s former deputy Anne Milton in a TV interview stating his behaviour in the office was “threatening” and “intimidating”.
“On one occasion, we had an MP who’d got a few financial problems, some financial help was given. It wasn’t a great amount, but I do remember him asking me to give the MP in question the cheque,” said Milton.
“And he waved it under my nose and said: ‘Make sure when you give him this cheque he knows that I now own him’.”
Milton who worked in the Tory whips’ office between 2016 and 2017, also added that 46-year-old Williamson loved to engage in salacious gossip which often turned sexual in nature.
“There were a few – the salacious gossip, which I’ve talked about, people’s sexual preferences, that sort of thing. He loved all that. He would come into the office and say, ‘Guess who enjoys some form of sex or another’.”