United Kingdom

Gavin Williamson is 'tipped for a KNIGHTHOOD' after being sacked as Education Secretary

Former education secretary Gavin Williamson is being tipped for a knighthood after he was axed from the Cabinet in a dramatic reshuffle.

The MP for South Staffordshire, who has also served as defence secretary, is set to appear on the Prime Minister's honours list, Whitehall sources told the Daily Telegraph.

It comes after Boris Johnson hailed his new Cabinet and replaced Mr Williamson with the former vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi in a Cabinet reshuffle this week.

Mr Williamson's sacking came after he faced mounting calls to resign over the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following his departure  Mr Williamson tweeted: 'It has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary since 2019. 

Gavin Williamson is being tipped for a knighthood after he was axed from the Cabinet this week

'Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I'm particularly proud of the transformational reforms I've led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.

'This programme will create better life opportunities for pupils and students for many years to come. I look forward to continuing to support the Prime Minister and the Government.' 

Before his tenure at the Department for Education, Mr Williamson, worked as a managing director for the fireplace manufacturer Elgin & Hall in North Yorkshire.

He was elected Conservative MP for South Staffordshire in May 2010 before going on to become chief whip from 2016 to 2017.

He later served as defence secretary from November 2017 to May 2019. 

In 2019, he was sacked from this position following an inquiry into the leak of information from a National Security Council meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei's involvement in the UK's 5G mobile network.

Mr Williamson denied being the source of the leak. 

In 2017, Mr Williamson's pet tarantula was given its marching orders - after apparently terrifying a senior official. 

Mr Williamson famously kept the spider - named Cronus - on his desk in the Commons when he was chief whip, and it accompanied him when he was promoted.

But he was forced to move it out of the department after it emerged an official suffered from arachnophobia. 

Mr Williamson, who was elected Conservative MP for South Staffordshire in May 2010, was chief whip from 2016 to 2017

Boris Johnson replaced Mr Williamson with the former vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi in a Cabinet reshuffle 

This week Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, the largest teaching union in the UK, said: 'We can't pretend we are sorry that Gavin Williamson has gone.   

'He failed to engage with our suggestions on how to make schools safer during Covid – leading to unnecessary disruption to children and young people's education.

'His CO2 monitors won't arrive until very late this term, his laptops took months to reach the children who needed them and he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into providing for children going hungry during school holidays.

'The exam debacle in 2020 and 2021 caused huge stress to parents, students and teachers. Many parents and students will never forgive Williamson for this.'      

During his reshuffle the PM also replaced Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary with Liz Truss and axed Robert Buckland and Robert Jenrick. 

Amanda Milling was also ousted from co-chair of the Conservative Party. 

Oliver Dowden took over that post, with health minister Nadine Dorries elevated to his former job as Culture Secretary. 

Michael Gove was shifted sideways to the housing department, and also given responsibility for 'levelling up' and defending the Union in a nod to the separatist threat posed by Nicola Sturgeon. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel remain in post. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace were also safe along with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg and Suella Braverman as Attorney General. 

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