09 November 2022

Sir Gavin Williamson will not take severance payment after two weeks in office

09 November 2022

Embattled minister Sir Gavin Williamson has said he will not take severance payment after announcing his resignation over bullying allegations.

The MP said late on Tuesday night that he will opt against the payment government ministers and whips are automatically entitled to, adding that it should instead go towards other “priorities”, such as reducing the NHS’s waiting lists.

“To dispel any speculation, I want to make it clear that I will not be taking any severance,” Sir Gavin tweeted.

“This is taxpayers’ money and it should go instead toward the Government‘s priorities like reducing the NHS’s waiting lists.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Sir Gavin stood down after accepting that allegations about his conduct had become “a distraction”. It is the third time he has left government in as many years.

He has been accused of sending expletive-laden messages to former chief whip Wendy Morton, complaining about being refused an invitation to the Queen’s funeral.

He was also the subject of claims he bullied a former official at the Ministry of Defence and engaged in “unethical and immoral” behaviour while he was chief whip.

Last month analysis of House of Commons data by Sky News determined that since the start of the year 79 Government ministers and whips had either been sacked or have resigned – costing British taxpayers up to £709,000.

However, as was reported at the time by Sky, two of those eligible for payments averaging more than £10,000 were understood to be returning the money, in whole or in part.

Since that data was published, Matt Hancock and Sir Gavin have also left.

Sir Gavin quit following a meeting with the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening.

The embattled MP said the allegations against him were “becoming a distraction for the good work this Government is doing for the British people” and was stepping back to “clear my name”.

Another complaint to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) has reportedly been made by a former senior official who worked with Sir Gavin when he was at the Ministry of Defence.

He is alleged to have told the official to “slit your throat” and on a separate occasion told them to “jump out of the window”, according to a Guardian report.

On Tuesday night, former deputy chief whip Anne Milton alleged Sir Gavin used intimidatory and threatening tactics while he was chief whip in 2016-17.

She accused him of seeking to use an MP’s financial situation as leverage against them and sending an expletive-laden email about a female civil servant.

Ms Milton described his behaviour as “unethical and immoral” and told Channel 4: “I think he feels that he’s Francis Urquhart from House Of Cards.”

Sir Gavin is a divisive figure at Westminster, where he is viewed with suspicion by many Tory MPs because of his reputation as an inveterate plotter.

He was sacked first by Theresa May as defence secretary in 2019 for leaking details of a National Security Council meeting, and then by Boris Johnson as education secretary over the Covid-19 A-levels debacle.

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