British Cabinet Office minister Gavin Williamson resigned from his post on Tuesday, following the latest allegations of bullying, saying the allegations against him “become a distraction from the good work this government is doing”.
“As you are aware, complaints regarding text messages I sent to a colleague are pending,” Williamson wrote in his resignation letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“I comply with this process and I have apologized to the recipient for those messages. Since then, various allegations have been made about my past conduct. I deny 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 wrote in the letter. He also said.
“I have therefore decided to step back from government so that I can fully comply with the ongoing complaints process and clear my name of any wrongdoing,” Williamson said.
Sunak accepted his resignation “with great sadness,” the PA news agency reported. “I want to thank you for your personal support and loyalty,” Sunak said.
Williamson’s current reign lasted only 14 days. Williamson, considered a close Sunak ally, has faced calls to quit following allegations of bullying.
Ann Milton, the former deputy chief whip, described Williamson as “intimidating” and “intimidating” when he was chief whip five years ago, in an interview with Channel 4 News on Tuesday.
Milton, who worked alongside Williamson in the whip’s office – enforcing party discipline – also described his behavior as “unethical and immoral”.
“I get the impression that he likes precious gossip and will use it against MPs if need be,” Milton told the broadcaster.
Williamson has yet to publicly react to Milton’s claims. CNN reached out to the lawmaker for comment.
Williamson said later Tuesday that he would not take any severance pay after resigning. He writes on Twitter “It’s taxpayers’ money that should go towards the government’s priorities, such as reducing National Health Service waiting lists.”
The Conservative lawmaker was sacked as defense minister by then-prime minister Theresa May in 2019 for leaking a key decision on Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
May’s decision follows how the Daily Telegraph newspaper discovered the UK government was preparing to give Huawei access to parts of the country’s 5G mobile network. Williamson “vehemently” denied evidence of the leak in a letter on his Twitter account at the time.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson later appointed him secretary of state for education, an ill-fated brief that saw Williamson preside over the controversial exam standards protocol during the Covid-19 pandemic, as testing did not take place. The ranking system was scrapped after widespread outrage from parents, students and educators.
In an interview with Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who is campaigning for free school meals for children in need during the pandemic, Williamson made waves by appearing to confuse two of the biggest black British sports stars. Meets rugby player Maro Idoje.
Johnson removed him from the role during a cabinet reshuffle in 2021.
Williamson is also a former chief whip and served as a minister without portfolio in Sunak’s government before he resigned on Tuesday.