Exclusive: Gavin Williamson tipped for knighthood

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Gavin Williamson
Gavin Williamson

Gavin Williamson is being tipped for a knighthood in a move likely to anger parents, teachers and unions.

The former education secretary is expected to feature in the Prime Minister’s next honours list after being sacked in the reshuffle, according to Whitehall sources.

When approached by The Telegraph, the MP for South Staffordshire declined to comment, saying it was “not something I have heard about”.

But there are suggestions that Boris Johnson may have made the offer to soften the blow of Mr Williams's departure from the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Although his sacking had been anticipated after he faced widespread criticism over his handling of his departmental responsibilities during the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Johnson had kept him in post despite numerous calls for his resignation.

The gaffe-prone politician once again hit the headlines last week by confusing England footballer Marcus Rashford with rugby player Maro Itoje.

Ridiculed by the press as a “Private Pike” figure, and likened to hapless Frank Spencer from the TV sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em by his own Conservative colleagues, Mr Williamson’s days had long been numbered.

Yet until Wednesday, the former chief whip’s reputation as a “master of the dark arts” who “knows where the bodies are buried” appeared to have afforded him some job security.

Mr Johnson is thought to credit the Scarborough-born, tarantula-owning father-of-two with helping him to win the Tory leadership race in 2019.

Along with Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, Mr Williamson was behind the whipping operation that saw the former London mayor win the support of two-thirds of Conservative MPs.

After being fired, Mr Williamson tweeted:

He added: "This programme will create better life opportunities for pupils and students for many years to come. I look forward to continuing to support the Prime Minster and the Government."

Mr Williamson was later conspicuously absent from Prime Minister’s Questions.

Downing Street declined to comment.

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