Sir Gavin Williamson fronts an anti-bullying video which has awkwardly resurfaced after he resigned from the Cabinet last night over bullying allegations. The clip was filmed in November 2020 when he was Education Secretary to mark the anti-bullying week.
Sir Gavin says: “This week, anti-bullying week, is a chance to thank schools and teachers for everything they do to make the classroom a safe place for every child to thrive.
“Bullying is never acceptable.
“Every school must have anti-bullying policies in place so that no pupil fears coming to school or working online.”
Sir Gavin yesterday quit as Cabinet Office minister after just two weeks in the job following a series of bullying allegations.
The Lib Dems accused the Tories of “rank hypocrisy and double standards” over the video.
The party’s education spokesperson Munira Wilson said: “This exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government.
“Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable.
“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.”
It comes after expletive-laden messages sent by Sir Gavin, who was a backbencher at the time, to the then Tory chief whip Wendy Morton fuming that he had not been invited to the late Queen’s funeral emerged over the weekend.
He was also the subject of claims he bullied a former official at the Ministry of Defence who alleged he told them to “slit your throat”.
Sir Gavin last night said the allegations against him were “becoming a distraction for the good work this Government is doing for the British people” and was stepping back to “clear my name”.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been facing pressure over why he gave Sir Gavin, a key ally during his leadership campaign, a position in his Cabinet despite being aware Ms Morton had submitted a formal complaint against him.
Sir Gavin, a former chief whip, was brought back into the Cabinet when Mr Sunak entered No 10 last month.
But his appointment sparked controversy as he is viewed with suspicion in Westminster because of his reputation as a plotter.
He was previously sacked by Theresa May as defence secretary for leaking details of a National Security Council meeting and then by Mr Johnson as education secretary over the Covid A-levels debacle.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan today defended the PM as questions were raised over his judgement.
Ms Keegan told BBC Breakfast: “I’ve worked with him for many years. He has integrity, he has fabulous judgement.”