Rishi Sunak 'Proud' Gavin Williamson Is Backing His Tory Leadership Campaign

The former chief whip has been accused of deploying "dirty tricks" against Sunak's rivals.
PAUL ELLIS via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has defended the involvement of former chief whip Sir Gavin Williamson in his Tory leadership campaign.

Williamson has been accused by rival campaigns of using “dirty tricks” behind the scenes to try and manipulate the contest in a way that would see Sunak face someone he was more likely to defeat in the final round.

Asked what Williamson’s role was in his campaign, Sunak told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Thursday he was “proud and humbled” to have the support of many MPs.

“Like all the Members of Parliament who are on my team, they are talking to colleagues and making the case for my candidacy because they believe that I am the best person to beat Keir Starmer and the Labour Party and I’m really grateful for all their support,” he said.

The former chancellor said it was senior MP Mel Stride running the parliamentary side of his campaign, not Williamson.

Sunak is the current frontrunner in the contest to replace Boris Johnson, but trade minister Penny Mordaunt has seen a surge in support and foreign secretary Liz Truss remains in a strong position.

Williamson served as Theresa May’s chief whip when she was PM and was in charge of enforcing party discipline.

He infamously had a pet tarantula in his office named Cronus, after the Greek god who castrated his father and ate his children.

Pressed on whether he thought Williamson had been a “good education secretary”, Sunak declined.

Williamson served as education secretary under Johnson during the pandemic and oversaw chaotic u-turn over GCSE exams.

He has also previously served as defence secretary and once told Russia to “go away and shut up”.

Williamson was sacked from that job by May following allegations he leaked information from a National Security Council meeting.


What's Hot