Tories Accused Of 'Rank Hypocrisy' After Gavin Williamson Anti-Bullying Video Emerges

“Bullying is never acceptable," the former education secretary said.
Gavin Williamson in an anti-bullying video
Gavin Williamson in an anti-bullying video
Department for Education

The Tory government was accused of “rank hypocrisy” today after a video emerged of Gavin Williamson saying “bullying is never acceptable”.

Williamson resigned from Rishi Sunak’s cabinet on Tuesday night following a series of bullying allegations against him.

He quit saying the accusations were “becoming a distraction for the good work this government is doing”.

Williamson was under pressure to step down from his cabinet office role following reports in The Guardian that he told a ministry of defence official to “slit your throat”. Williamson has said he refutes the characterisation of the claims.

The Tory party and parliament’s bullying watchdog are also looking into allegations made by former chief whip Wendy Morton.

However, the saga has prompted accusations of “double standards” at the heart of the government.

A video has also since emerged of Williamson when he was education secretary in November 2020 saying “bullying is never acceptable”.

In the video, Williamson said: “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.”

The Lib Dem’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.”

In his letter to the prime minister, Williamson said: “As you know, there is an ongoing complaints process concerning text messages I sent to a colleague.

“I am complying with this process and I have apologised to the recipient for those messages.

“Since then, there have been other allegations made about my past conduct. I refute the characterisation of these claims, but I recognise these are becoming a distraction for the good work this government is doing for the British people.

“I have therefore decided to step back from government so that I can comply fully with the complaints process that is underway and clear my name of any wrongdoing.”


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