British Cabinet Minister Gavin Williamson He resigned Tuesday following the latest allegations of bullying, saying the allegations against him “were becoming a distraction from the good work this government is doing”.
“As you know, there is an ongoing grievance process regarding text messages I sent to a colleague,” Williamson said in his resignation letter addressed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“I am following this process and have apologized to the recipient for these messages. Since then, further allegations have been leveled about my past behavior. I disagree with the characterization of these claims but I recognize that they become a distraction from the good work this Government is doing for the British people,” he added in the letter.
“I have therefore decided to resign from the government so that I can fully comply with the ongoing grievance process and clear my name of any wrongdoing,” Williamson said.
According to the PA news agency, Sunak accepted his resignation “with great sadness”. “I want to thank you for your personal support and loyalty,” Sunak said.
Williamson’s current tenure in government lasted only for 14 days. Williamson, who was seen as a close ally of Sunak, has faced growing calls to quit following allegations of bullying.
Former Deputy Chief Whip Anne Milton described Williamson’s behavior five years ago when he was Chief Whip as “threatening” and “intimidating” in an interview with Channel 4 News published on Tuesday.
Milton, who worked alongside Williamson in the Office of the Whip – which enforces party discipline – also described his behavior as “unethical and immoral”.
“I got the impression that he loved salacious gossip and would use it as leverage against MPs if necessary,” Milton told the broadcaster.
Williamson has yet to publicly respond to Milton’s claims. CNN has reached out to lawmakers for comment.
Williamson said later Tuesday he would not take severance pay after retiring. write on twitter that “this is taxpayers’ money and should instead be used for government priorities such as reducing waiting lists for the National Health Service.”
The Conservative Party legislature was previously fired from his post as Defense Secretary in 2019 by then Prime Minister Theresa May over the leak of a key decision related to Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
May’s decision followed an investigation, the Daily Telegraph newspaper found, that the UK government was preparing to give Huawei access to parts of the country’s 5G mobile network. Williamson “vehemently” denied he was the source of the leak in a letter posted to his Twitter account at the time.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson later appointed him Secretary of State for Education, an ill-fated appointment that saw Williamson preside over a controversial one Exam Scoring Algorithm during the Covid-19 pandemic as no tests could take place. The grading system was scrapped after widespread outrage from parents, students and educators.
Williamson also made waves by appearing to confuse two big black British sports starstold an interviewer he was speaking to Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford – who has been campaigning for free school meals for children in need during the pandemic – when he had actually met with rugby player Maro Itoje.
Johnson removed him from the role during a cabinet reshuffle in 2021.
Williamson is also a former ex-Chief Whip and held a position as Minister without Portfolio in Sunak’s government before resigning on Tuesday.