Gavin Williamson used ‘dirty gossip’ as leverage, ex-deputy says

Sir Gavin Williamson has been accused of intimidating a senior civil servant (Picture: James Veysey/Shutterstock)

New allegations of ‘shocking’, ‘threatening’ and ‘intimidating’ behavior by Sir Gavin Williamson have been made by one of his former government colleagues – including that he collected ‘salacious gossip on MPs’ “sexual preferences” to potentially hold them against them. .

Former Tory MP Anne Milton, Deputy Chief Whip when Sir Gavin was Chief Whip between July 2016 and November 2017, has also accused him of using MPs’ mental and physical health issues as “leverage“.

And she told Channel 4 News that Mr Williamson had agreed to her handing a check to a financially challenged MP – but told her: ‘Make sure when you give him that check he knows I own it now.”

She added: “I don’t think it was a joke. It was the seriousness with which he said it. And I think the bottom line is that if the examples match your overall experience with someone, then you believe it.

Ms Milton said she gave the MP the check but did not deliver Sir Gavin’s message.

She described Sir Gavin as exhibiting an ‘unethical and immoral’ and ‘shocking’ way when they worked together in the whips office – and said his behavior in the role was ‘threatening’ and “intimidating”, adding: “It is an image that he cultivates.

“I think he feels like Francis Urquhart from House of Cards.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (13612165i) Gavin Williamson, Minister Without Portfolio, leaves the Cabinet Office.  Nov 7, 2022 Politicians in London, UK - Nov 07, 2022
His former deputy has accused him of using MPs’ mental and physical health issues as ‘leverage’ (Picture: James Veysey/Shutterstock)

She added: ‘I got the impression he liked dirty gossip and would use it as leverage against MPs if the need arose.’

Ms Milton said it included ‘people’s sexual preferences, that sort of thing’, adding: ‘He loved it all. He would walk into the office and say “guess who likes, you know, one form of sex or another.”

“I found him very unpleasant out of everything.”

And she remembers being shocked by an email from him in 2016 in response to a civil servant’s inquiry into why a minister had to change his travel plans to attend a vote.

He reportedly wrote: “Always tell them to fuck off and if they have the bullshit come see me.” F***ing jumped on the officials.

Ms Milton, who was stripped of the Tory whip during the Brexit rows in 2019 and subsequently lost her seat, questioned Rishi Sunak’s decision to give Sir Gavin a cabinet post, saying: ‘I think (at the ) better than that was probably a bit naive.

“I don’t know if there are many people who would drag the bunting to see Gavin Williamson return to government.”

It is understood that Downing Street is undertaking a fact-finding exercise and considering how to respond to allegations that Sir Gavin told a senior official to ‘cut his throat’.

In a statement refuting the bullying allegations, Sir Gavin said: ‘I strongly reject this allegation and have had a good working relationship with the many brilliant civil servants I have worked with in government.

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