Rishi Sunak said “it is absolutely right” that Sir Gavin Williamson resigned and insisted he did not know about “any of the specific concerns” relating to his behaviour.

Sir Gavin Williamson resigned from his position amid bullying allegations yesterday.

The former Minister of State said the allegations against him were “becoming a distraction for the good work this government is doing”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The truth is simple: he is a pathetic bully but he would never get away with it if people like the Prime Minister didn’t hand him power. So does he regret his decision to make him a Government minister?”

Bournemouth Echo:

The Prime Minister replied: “I obviously regret appointing someone who has had to resign in these circumstances, but I think what the British people would like to know is that when situations like this arise that they will be dealt with properly.

“And that’s why it is absolutely right that he resigned and it’s why it is absolutely right that there is an investigation to look into these matters properly. I said my Government will be characterised by integrity, professionalism, and accountability and it will.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The problem is he can’t stand up to a run-of-the-mill bully, so he has no chance of standing up to vested interests on behalf of working people.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was also asked why he had “expressed great sadness at his resignation” after Williamson had allegedly “told a civil servant to slit their throat”.

Rishi Sunak replied: “Unequivocally, the behaviour complained of was unacceptable and it is absolutely right, it is absolutely right, that the right honourable gentleman has resigned.

“For the record, I did not know about any of the specific concerns relating to his conduct as Secretary of State or chief whip, which date back some years.

“I believe that people in public life should treat others with consideration and respect, and those are the principles that this Government will stand by.”

In his resignation letter, Sir Gavin Williamson told Rishi Sunak: “As you know, there is an ongoing complaints process concerning text messages I sent to a colleague.

“I am complying with this process and I have apologised to the recipient for those messages.

“Since then, there have been other allegations made about my past conduct. I refute the characterisation of these claims, but I recognise these are becoming a distraction for the good work this government is doing for the British people.

“I have therefore decided to step back from government so that I can comply fully with the complaints process that is underway and clear my name of any wrongdoing. “