Tory MP Gavin Williamson fronted the government’s flagship anti-bullying campaign just two years ago, a resurfaced video shows.
Sir Gavin resigned from his job as cabinet office minister last night amid allegations he had bullied colleagues across government and the Conservative Party.
Claims about the senior Tory include that he had told a senior civil servant to “slit your throat” and “jump out of the window”.
And leaked messages suggest he sent abusive text messages to the former Tory chief whip Wendy Morton and accused her of excluding him from attending the Queen’s funeral.
But in a video from November 2020, when he was education secretary, Sir Gavin promised to “stamp out bullying” for the government’s Anti-Bullying Week programme.
“Bullying is never acceptable. Every school must have anti-bullying policies in place so that no pupil fears coming to school or working online,” he said in the broadcast.
“I want children to be able to celebrate their differences and what makes each of them unique. That’s why we have ambitious plans to improve behaviour in every school, backing headteachers to make classrooms calm, disciplined places that bring out the best in every pupil.”
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education Munira Wilson said the video of Mr Williamson “exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government”.
“Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable,” she said. “Schools rightly have a zero tolerance approach to bullying. But once again it seems it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.”
Sir Gavin had held the role of education secretary from 2019 to 202. He quit his latest role at the Cabinet Office on Tuesday night amid further claims from his former deputy in the whip’s office Anne Milton.
Ms Milton, formerly the MP for Guildford, said he had behaved in a “threatening” and “intimidating” way towards MPs while serving as the government’s chief whip in 2016 and 2017.
In his resignation letter, Sir Gavin said he rejected the “characterisation” of the many claims “about my past conduct”. But he said they had become a “distraction from the good work the government is doing”.
The prime minister Rishi Sunak, who this week insisted Sir Gavin had his full confidence, said he would accept the resignation “with great sadness” and thanked the MP for his “personal support and loyalty”.