Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday said he regretted appointing Sir Gavin Williamson as minister, adding that he was unaware of “specific” allegations of bullying prior to his appointment.
Williamson, who was appointed minister last month without a portfolio, resignation on Tuesday following a series of statements regarding his conduct. He faces investigation by the parliament’s Independent Complaints and Complaints Program and a Downing Street investigation following allegations that he told a senior civil servant to “cut your throat”. ” and sent threatening text messages to former director Wendy Morton.
Addressing the prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer described Williamson as a “cartoon bully with a pet spider” who had been activated by Sunak.
Starmer likened Williamson to a “sad middle manager who threatens those below him” and compares Sunak with “his boss, who was too weak, was so worried that the bullies would come back to him so he hid behind them”.
Asked by Starmer if he regretted giving Williamson the job, Sunak said: “I obviously regret appointing someone who had to resign under these circumstances, but I think what the British people want is what the British people want. know that when situations like this happen, they will be dealt with appropriately.”
“For the record, I’m not aware of any particular concerns regarding his conduct as secretary of state or chief whip, which date back several years.”
Sunak said people in public life “should treat others with consideration and respect”, principles his government will adhere to.
He added: “Clearly, the behavior being complained about is unacceptable and it is absolutely true, it is absolutely true, that a respectable gentleman has resigned.”
In his resignation letter on Tuesday, the South Staffordshire MP said he would step down from the cabinet “so that I can fully comply with the complaints process that is underway and clear my name of any wrongdoing.” any”.
Downing Street does not deny Sunak has been accused by Sir Jake Berry, former Tory party chairman, of the Williamson bullying allegations against Williamson, saying they “cannot comment on. . . details of private discussions”.
No 10 added that stripping Williamson of his knighthood would not be a decision for Sunak because “there is a formal process for the so-called Confiscation Commission. And that will be a decision for them.”
Meanwhile Sunak was also attacked by some Labor MPs for his personal possessions. Liam Byrne, former Treasury secretary, asked: “Does the Prime Minister understand the desperation my voters feel that he is one of the richest men in Britain. . . doing too little for the poorest people in Britain? “
Karl Turner, MP for Kingston upon Hull East, request whether Sunak “or any member of his many households” would use the NHS or private healthcare if unwell. In response, Sunak said he would make sure “everyone gets the care they need”.