Twice-sacked Tory ministerial failure Gavin Williamson is to be knighted – for reasons that none of us can understand.
The government is saying he’ll have the honour “for political and public service”, but his record of service to politics and the public is so shockingly bad that a prison sentence for treason would be more appropriate.
He has been sacked from two ministerial posts – as secretary of state for education and defence – after causing huge scandals.
The Huffington Post has listed just some of his worst offences:
His handling of disruption to schools during the height of the pandemic and the grading of GCSEs and A-levels after exams were cancelled was widely seen as disastrous.
The firing from defence came following an inquiry into the leak of information from a security council meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G mobile network. Williamson denied being the source of the leak, despite having an 11-minute conversation with a journalist that broke the story.
Away from policy errors, Williamson is perhaps best-known in British politics for his habit of making a gaffe.
In September, Williamson confused footballer Marcus Rashford with another sports star. [He] told the Evening Standard that he had met Rashford, a prominent campaigner for free school meals, while it was later revealed he had actually met rugby union player, Maro Itoje. Both men are black.
Last year, Williamson said he did not remember what A-Level grades he received – despite remembering opening the envelope.
In the wake of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in 2018, Williamson … said: “Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up.” The tenor of his warning clearly had little effect.
Days after his Rashford gaffe, Williamson urged teachers to return to in-person teaching – during a virtual appearance at a conference.
Williamson was told off by parliamentary authorities after using Instagram in the House of Commons.
In 2018, Williamson was attempting to deliver a speech on Isis in the Middle East when a voice coming from his jacket pocket interrupted proceedings. Siri could be heard saying: “Hi Gavin, I found something on the web for: ‘In Syria, democratic forces supported by…’”
The list of Gavin’s gaffes is very long indeed.
So, why the knighthood?
Well, he did run Boris Johnson’s campaign to become the Conservative Party’s leader in 2019. Some say he was given his cabinet position as Education Secretary as a reward; it certainly seemed incongruous after previous PM Theresa May had sacked him from Defence.
But the smart view is that, as an intimate colleague of Johnson, Williamson is getting the honour in order to keep him quiet – to prevent him from exposing any “skeletons in the prime minister’s closet” of which he has knowledge:
The Prime Minister fears the backbencher could open up on what he saw when he was running his leadership campaign, and a knighthood is seen by some as the price for buying his silence.
But such a move is likely to anger teachers, unions and pupils and risks further disillusioning the public as he allegedly held a Christmas party at the Department of Education (DoE) in December 2020.
The party was hosted at the DoE cafe in Westminster and up to two dozen staffers attended.
The DfE did not deny Covid rules had been broken and admitted “it would have been better” not to have held the event while the rest of the country was banned from doing so.
If this is the real reason, then it is simply more evidence of Boris Johnson’s corruption – and of the corruption that infects the heart of the UK government that accepts him as its leader:
Earlier this year it was reported that Boris Johnson could hand Gavin Williamson a knighthood "to keep skeletons in closet".
Well guess what?
Boris Johnson just handed Gavin Williamson a knighthood.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) March 3, 2022
Gavin Williamson has been knighted.
This is the most corrupt government in our modern history.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) March 3, 2022
Who can argue with that?
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