Gavin Williamson, the cabinet office minister, warned the Conservative chief whip that “there is a price for everything” in a string of angry messages being investigated by the party, it has emerged.
Williamson, who attends cabinet after being handed a senior position by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is accused of sending abusive messages to Wendy Morton, who served as chief whip during Liz Truss’s premiership. He sent a series of messages complaining that he had not been invited to the Queen’s funeral.
Jake Berry, until recently the Conservative party chairman, has now claimed that he told Sunak about the complaint made against Williamson before he was appointed to his current ministerial job. Sunak has previously stated that his government would be characterised by “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”.
According to the messages published by the Sunday Times, Williamson accused Morton of exploiting the Queen’s death for political purposes. He told her that it was “very poor and sends a very clear message” that members of the privy council, including him, who were not “favoured” by Truss, were being deliberately excluded.
When Morton insisted it was “not the case” that political opponents were being excluded, Williamson replied that it looked “very shit”.
He added: “Also don’t forget I know how this works so don’t puss [sic] me about.” Williamson served as chief whip himself under Theresa May’s premiership.
“It’s very clear how you are going to treat a number of us which is very stupid and you are showing fuck all interest in pulling things together,” the messages read. “Don’t bother asking anything from me.”
Another read: “Well let’s see how many more times you fuck us all over. There is a price for everything.”
Morton is said to have cited the messages from Williamson in an email to the party on the day before Sunak was elected leader. She is also said to have informed the cabinet office and accused Williamson of “bullying and intimidation”.
Berry said in a statement to the Sunday Times: “In compliance with protocol, in my capacity as party chairman, I informed both the new prime minister and his incoming chief of staff about the complaint on the same day.”
Williamson stated last night: “I, of course, regret getting frustrated about the way colleagues and I felt we were being treated. I am happy to speak with Wendy and I hope to work positively with her in the future as I have in the past.”