Gavin Williamson says he’s sorry to MPs for being disrespectful to former chief whip

Gavin Williamson says he’s sorry to MPs for being disrespectful to former chief whip

After a former chief whip was denied seats at the late Queen’s funeral, Sir Gavin Williamson publicly apologized for his bullying behavior towards Wendy Morton.

The Parliamentary Watchdog had demanded an apology from the former Tory Cabinet minister due to his “offensive and intimidating” treatment of Morton. During his House of Commons appearance, he offered a full and unreserved apology for sending profanity-laced texts to Morton in the previous year, leading to his resignation as Cabinet Office minister during Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

Sir Gavin acknowledged the inappropriateness of his actions and their violation of the zero-tolerance policy against bullying and harassment. He expressed his apology to Morton and the House without reservation and pledged to prevent a recurrence of such behavior. The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) found Sir Gavin’s actions to be an abuse of power and emphasized the need for a full and unreserved apology.

The controversy stemmed from Sir Gavin not receiving an invitation to the late Queen’s burial, which he attributed to his lack of support for then-Prime Minister Liz Truss in a previous leadership election. He had texted Morton expressing frustration and implying consequences. Despite being knighted after Boris Johnson’s nomination, Sir Gavin has a contentious history in Westminster due to previous controversies and resignations from ministerial positions.

Morton had filed a complaint with the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, leading to the IEP’s decision to uphold her appeal. The IEP report highlighted that Sir Gavin’s actions went beyond political disagreement and constituted a personal threat against Morton, impacting her role as chief whip.

In response to the watchdog’s findings, Morton expressed relief at the apologies extended to her after nearly a year of the lengthy procedure, acknowledging the roller coaster nature of the process. Several other ministers also faced complaints about their behavior during Rishi Sunak’s tenure as prime minister, leading to resignations.

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