EVEN by the abysmally low standards of the Conservatives, Gavin Williamson, the offspring of Dad's Army's Private Pike and Dick Dastardly, is a truly vile person.

Williamson, who was given a knighthood by Boris Johnson for services to pulling the wings off flies, was sacked as defence secretary by Theresa May following the leaking of confidential National Security Council. Williamson refused to admit responsibility despite May saying that she had "compelling evidence" that Williamson had leaked the information and adding that she had "lost confidence in his ability to serve in his role”.

However, the Tory MP worked on Boris Johnson's Conservative leadership campaign later that year, and within months of his sacking was back in the Cabinet as Johnson's education secretary. The Tories don't do accountability.

The only saving grace was that it took Johnson almost six months to bring the disgraced former minister back into the cabinet, whereas Sunak brought the disgraced former home secretary Suella Braverman back into Cabinet after a mere six days.

At this rate, the next time a Tory minister is sacked following a scandal, they will be back in the cabinet within six hours and Rishi Sunak will be telling us that integrity in government matters.

Williamson was sacked by Boris Johnson in 2021 for general uselessness, but then was reappointed by Rishi Sunak (below) as part of his campaign to suck up to the different warring factions of the Conservative party – despite Williamson being out of his depth as the manager of one of the smaller DIY stores.

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Within days of Sunak putting such a manifestly unsuitable individual back in the Cabinet, while he was still firefighting the criticisms for putting the manifestly unsuitable Suella Braverman back in the Cabinet, rumours began to circulate that former Conservative whip Wendy Morton had made an official complaint about allegedly aggressive and threatening WhatsApp messages sent to her by Williamson.

Matters worsened when a current minister told The Times that Williamson had called her to his office at a time she was campaigning about a politically sensitive matter and raised an issue about her private life "which she interpreted as a tacit threat".

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After this the floodgates opened. Some civil servants complained that Williamson was engaged in a sustained campaign of bullying and intimidation. Others reported that Williamson had been heard joking and laughing about how his tactics damaged the mental health of the people he worked with, that he used MPs' mental and physical health problems against them, and that he had collected "salacious gossip" about their "sexual preferences" in order to use them as a weapon and to create a culture of fear which he could use to his personal advantage.

By Tuesday, Williamson had been reported to the parliamentary Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

Williamson (below) denies all the allegations made about him, but has resigned in order, he claims, "to avoid becoming a distraction to the government" and to "comply fully with the complaints process that is underway and clear my name of any wrongdoing".

The National: Gavin Williamson abusive texts allegations

However it now seems clear that knowledge about Williamson's nasty tactics was widespread in government circles and the parliamentary Conservative party and the focus has moved to Sunak's increasingly questionable judgment. Sunak denies knowledge of the allegations about Williamson's behaviour, a denial which we can file under "Aye, right, uh-huh”.

What is equally clear is that the nastiness and dysfunction of the Conservatives continues under Sunak just as it did under Truss before him and Johnson before her, no change of leader can make the Conservatives fit for government, yet they will stumble on, lurching from crisis to scandal until the next General Election, wreaking chaos and damage on the rest of us. However, Scotland will either have had a referendum by then, or will be using that election as a de facto referendum. We’ll be able to pray that the Conservatives will never be Scotland's problem again.