Gavin Williamson threatened to unleash ‘the world’s biggest s**tshow’ on the Government while fighting for a job as Defence Secretary in 2019, an explosive new book has claimed.
Former No10 Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell claims Williamson warned then-PM Theresa May that he would not go quietly if she tried to sack him.
In his memoir Chief of Staff – Notes From No10, Mr Barwell explains how when he was facing the sack, Mr Williamson threatened to expose the Government.
The book which is set for release next week explains: ‘Having set out why he felt he was being badly treated, Gavin moved on to threats.
‘If we thought he was the kind of person who would take the blame for something he hadn’t done, we were misjudging his personality.
‘And if the Prime Minister tried to get rid of him, there would be the world’s biggest s***show.’
The revelations raise fears Mr Williamson could make similar explosive comments about Boris Johnson’s Cabinet should the Premier sack him amid a litany of recent controversies.
The under-fire Education Secretary stumbled into a racism row this week when he mistook footballer Marcus Rashford for rugby ace Maro Itoje – earning him the nickname ‘gaffe-a-day-Gav’.
It also comes as reshuffle fever gathers pace in Westminster with Mr Williamson among those tipped to lose out.
Former No10 Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell’s new memoir, set to be released next week, claims the current Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) warned PM Theresa May that he would not go quietly if she tried to sack him
According to Gavin Barwell (pictured), Mrs May regretted giving Mr Willamson a cabinet position. His book adds: ‘Boris Johnson chose to bring him back as Education Secretary, and he has struggled in that role, too.’
The senior Tory was eventually fired by then-PM Mrs May after being accused of leaking state secrets, which he always denied.
The book claims Mrs May regretted giving him a cabinet position, adding: ‘Boris Johnson chose to bring him back as Education Secretary, and he has struggled in that role, too.’
An ally of Mr Williamson last night said his recollection of events differed from Mr Barwell’s, reported the Sun.
The Mail Online has contacted Mr Williamson and the Department for Education for comment.
It comes as rumours have been swirling for weeks that Boris Johnson will shake up his cabinet this autumn.
They were fuelled by the PM repeatedly dodging questions about his intentions at a press conference this week.
One ally of Mr Johnson said he had assured them a reshuffle would not happen ‘on any scale’ in the coming weeks. ‘But with the PM you can never be completely certain,’ they told MailOnline.
As well as rumours that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab might be demoted, there has been long-standing sniping at Mr Williamson.
He faced accusations of racism this week after saying he had met football ace Mr Rashford via Zoom – when it had in fact been rugby player Mr Itoje.
In a statement he said the ‘genuine mistake’ was due to both men having campaigned on children, adding that he had ‘huge respect’ for them.
He said he had met Marcus Rashford (left) via Zoom, but it later transpired it was rugby player Maro Itoje (right) he had spoken to
Rumours have been swirling for weeks that Boris Johnson (pictured last night) will shake up his top team this autumn
Reshuffle fever is gathering pace in Westminster with Gavin Williamson and Dominic Raab among those tipped to lose out
But critics branded the mix-up ‘racist’ and pointed out the two have little in common aside from their ethnicity.
Some even claimed it was the ‘final nail in the coffin’ amid speculation he will be replaced by Kemi Badenoch.
Care Minister Helen Whately said on Thursday that she ‘doesn’t know’ if Mr Williamson is ‘racist or incompetent’ during an interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC.
She later said she thinks it is ‘highly unlikely’ the education secretary is a racist following his mix up of the black footballer and rugby star.
Her comments came during a confused debate, where she accused the radio host of trying to ‘trap’ her into an answer.
But it is not the first time Mr Williamson has been under fire, having repeatedly been accused of bungling the management of schools since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most notably in August last year, he presided over the A-level fiasco which saw thousands of students have their marks downgraded by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a u-turn.
He then took legal action in December to force schools in Covid hotspots to stay open – only for them to shut weeks later.
He also promised exams would take place this summer before announcing they were to be cancelled.
As well as featuring Mr Williamson, Mr Barwell’s tell-all book offers a behind-the-scenes look at Mrs May’s Government after he was brought in as Downing Street Chief of Staff following her disastrous election result in 2017.
He tells of how he helped ‘improve her cue action’ after she was challenged to a game of pool by then-Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte at an EU-Arab summit – before convincing her to engage in an alcohol-fuelled game of cards.
The memoir also covers her negotiations with Brussels as she tried, and failed, to deliver Brexit.
Sources told the Daily Mail how Mr Johnson, who was Foreign Secretary under Mrs May at the time, is painted as disloyal and scheming.
The book is also said to dish out plenty of dirt on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who, while acting as the party’s shadow Brexit secretary, is accused of sabotaging efforts at cross-party consensus.