Sir Gavin Williamson told to apologise for bullying former chief whip Wendy Morton

Credit: PA

Ex-cabinet minister Sir Gavin Williamson has been told he should apologise to MPs in the House of Commons for bullying former chief whip, Wendy Morton.

Williamson was also told he should undergo training to change his behaviour after he was found to have bullied Ms Morton about his failure to be invited to the late Queen's funeral in September 2022.

Ms Morton first made a complaint about text messages from Williamson to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) in November 2022.

Credit: PA

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Daniel Greenberg had cleared Sir Gavin Williamson of the charge that his conduct amounted to bullying or harassment.

But Westminster's Independent Expert Panel (IEP) upheld an appeal against the decision by Ms Morton.

The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) said it had “considered carefully” whether Williamson should face suspension from the Commons but had instead decided a “full and unreserved apology” was required.

The panel also said Sir Gavin should undertake “appropriate behaviour training” to increase his awareness of the impact of bullying on others.

The IEP’s report said Sir Gavin sent Ms Morton text messages after he did not receive an invitation to the funeral, which he attributed to his having not supported the then-prime minister Liz Truss in the recent leadership election.

The exchange concluded with him saying: “Well let's see how many more times you f*** us all over. There is a price for everything.”

The IEP’s report said Sir Gavin’s conduct “went beyond what is acceptable” and “went beyond ‘legitimate political debate'”.

It concluded that Sir Gavin’s behaviour was an abuse of power that amounted to a threat to lever his power and authority as a former Chief Whip to undermine Ms Morton.

"The respondent’s words in the texts were not only ‘rude and aggressive … offensive and intimidating’, as the commissioner rightly found, they were in the nature of a very personal attack on the complainant by way of threat.“

In the clearest terms, he was going to make her position difficult and frustrate her role as the newly appointed chief whip, all as revenge for his perception that she had denied him (and others) a ticket to the Queen’s funeral because he was not a prime minister Truss supporter.“

The government says Sir Gavin Williamson has accepted the decision.