Rishi Sunak has defended the involvement of former chief whip Sir Gavin Williamson in his Tory management marketing campaign.
Williamson has been accused by rival campaigns of utilizing “dirty tricks” behind the scenes to try to manipulate the competition in a manner that might see Sunak face somebody he was extra more likely to defeat within the last spherical.
Requested what Williamson’s function was in his marketing campaign, Sunak instructed BBC Radio 4′s Right this moment programme on Thursday he was “proud and humbled” to have the assist of many MPs.
“Like all of the Members of Parliament who’re on my workforce, they’re speaking to colleagues and making the case for my candidacy as a result of they consider that I’m the very best person to beat Keir Starmer and the Labour Occasion and I’m actually grateful for all their assist,” he mentioned.
The previous chancellor mentioned it was senior MP Mel Stride working the parliamentary aspect of his marketing campaign, not Williamson.
Sunak is the present frontrunner within the contest to interchange Boris Johnson, however commerce minister Penny Mordaunt has seen a surge in assist and international secretary Liz Truss stays in a robust place.
Williamson served as Theresa Could’s chief whip when she was PM and was answerable for implementing social gathering self-discipline.
He infamously had a pet tarantula in his workplace named Cronus, after the Greek god who castrated his father and ate his youngsters.
Pressed on whether or not he thought Williamson had been a “good schooling secretary”, Sunak declined.
Williamson served as schooling secretary underneath Johnson through the pandemic and oversaw chaotic u-turn over GCSE exams.
He has additionally beforehand served as defence secretary and as soon as instructed Russia to “go away and shut up”.
Williamson was sacked from that job by Could following allegations he leaked info from a Nationwide Safety Council assembly.