HomeWorld NewsGavin Williamson, a senior member of Prime Minister Sunak's staff, has resigned...

Gavin Williamson, a senior member of Prime Minister Sunak’s staff, has resigned amid allegations of intimidation

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A senior member of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government announced his resignation late Tuesday after mounting allegations that he harassed colleagues.

Gavin Williamson announced his resignation as minister of state without portfolio in a letter posted on Twitter, four days after the London Times published expletive-laden text messages he sent to another member of Parliament.

After that, a high-ranking official alleged that Williamson subjected them to sustained harassment, telling the individual to “slit his throat” on one occasion and “jump out the window” on another.

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In his resignation letter, Williamson said he apologized for the texting and was cooperating with an investigation into that conduct. But he rejected suggestions that the second incident involved bullying.

British lawmaker Gavin Williamson, right, a former minister of state without portfolio, leaves the Cabinet Office in London on October 31, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

“I dispute the characterization of these claims, but I recognize that they are becoming a distraction from the good work this government is doing for the British people,” Williamson wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to step away from the government so that I can fully comply with the complaints process that is underway and clear my name of any wrongdoing.”

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Williamson’s resignation comes amid criticism that Sunak has not followed through on his promise to make integrity a central focus of his government. Opposition leaders have also called for the resignation of Interior Minister Suella Braverman, whom Sunak reappointed just six days after she resigned for violating ministerial rules of conduct.

Sunak took office two weeks ago after her predecessor, Liz Truss, was forced to resign after her budget proposals sparked economic turmoil. Truss was prime minister for just six weeks after she replaced Boris Johnson, who resigned after a series of scandals ranging from illegal parties during pandemic lockdowns to allegations of misuse of political donations.

Many observers were surprised when Sunak appointed Williamson to a post in his government because he was twice forced from his previous cabinet posts. Williamson resigned as Secretary of Defense in 2019 following a leak of confidential information from the National Security Council. He lost his job as education secretary in 2021 after standardized tests were halted due to the pandemic.

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Sunak thanked Williamson for his “unwavering support” in accepting the resignation.

“I support your decision to step back and understand why you have taken it,” the prime minister said in a letter to Williamson.

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