Ex-education secretary Gavin Williamson given a knighthood after being sacked twice | Politics News

Former education secretary Gavin Williamson has been given a knighthood, Downing Street said.

The MP for South Staffordshire was sacked by Boris Johnson during his September 2021 cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Williamson was education secretary during most of the pandemic, when he came under heavy criticism for cancelling A-levels and GCSEs two years in a row and for closing schools.

A Downing Street statement said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Knighthood be conferred upon The Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP.”

No 10 did not say when he will be knighted.

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Education Secretary mocked over mix up

Just before Mr Williamson lost his education portfolio, he mixed up England rugby star Maro Itoje and Manchester United player – and free school meals campaigner – Marcus Rashford.

Commenting on a report that Mr Williamson had never had direct communication with Mr Rashford, the MP said he met Rashford “over Zoom and he seemed incredibly engaged, compassionate and charming but then he had to shoot off”.

However, his team then said he had actually met Itoje, not Rashford – prompting mocking from both sportsmen.

Mr Williamson was first elected in 2010 under David Cameron’s second government and served as his parliamentary private secretary in 2013.

He was Theresa May’s chief whip in 2016 and 2017 – when he kept a tarantula called Cronus in his office – before being made defence secretary.

Theresa May picture gallery
Handout photo issued by Downing Street of members of Prime Minister Theresa May's Cabinet when it first convened in 2016. (From the left, back row) Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood, Chief Whip Gavin Williamson, Attorney General Jeremy Wright, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Patrick McLoughlin, Chief Secretary to The Treasury David Gauke, Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer, (from the left, middle row) International Development Secretary Priti Patel, Enviro
Gavin Williamson was defence secretary under Theresa May until he was sacked over alleged Huawei leaks

Mr Williamson was criticised for dining with Lubov Chernukhin, the ex-wife of a former minister to Vladimir Putin, for a £30,000 donation to the Conservative Party in 2018.

Yesterday, the Electoral Commission’s latest numbers revealed Mrs Chernukhin donated another £80,250 to the party in the last quarter of 2021.

FILE IMAGE - 10-Sep-2019
 Free school places
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson during a visit to Pimlico Primary school in South West London, to meet staff and students and launch an education drive which could see up to 30 new free schools established.
Mr Williamson was education secretary for most of the pandemic until he was sacked by the PM in September

In 2019, Mr Williamson lost his defence job after there was a leak from the National Security Council, although he has always denied leaking information about Huawei’s potential involvement in the UK’s 5G network.

He supported Mr Johnson’s campaign to succeed Mrs May as Tory leader and was returned to the cabinet as education secretary when Mr Johnson became PM.

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