Gary Neville slates knighthood for Gavin ‘cock it up’ Williamson


Football legend Gary Neville has joined those who’ve criticized the knighthood of twice-sacked Cabinet minister Gavin Williamson. The politician oversaw the exams fiasco during the pandemic, which has led to many questioning why he is being made a knight.

The Manchester United icon took to twitter to share his take on knighthood: “Get appointed. Cock it up. Know where the skeletons are. Resign. Arise sir…”

Neville, 47, has previously attacked the current Conservative government, calling the Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘the worst kind of leader’ that Britain could have, WalesOnline reports.

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Downing Street announced on Thursday that the Queen has approved the honor for Tory MP Williamson, who was widely criticized for a series of errors as education secretary. The Prime Minister sacked Mr Williamson from that role in September and he was previously dumped as defense secretary following an inquiry into a leak from the National Security Council.

It was understood the knighthood was being given to the 45-year-old who helped run Mr Johnson’s successful 2019 campaign to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader on the basis of his political and public service.

Controversies surrounding Gavin Williamson



Gavin-Williamson

A gathering held in the education department under his watch during Covid restrictions was investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray, but was ultimately not part of the police inquiry. Mr Williamson, the MP for South Staffordshire, reportedly gave a short speech at the event on December 10 2020, while London was under Tier 2 measures banning social mixing between households.

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He clung on as education secretary for more than two years despite being battered by repeated calls for his resignation. His handling of disruption to schools during the height of the pandemic and the grading of GCSEs and A-levels after exams were canceled was widely seen as disastrous.

He was also criticized for confusing free school meals campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford with England rugby star Maro Itoje. Both men are black. Mr Williamson was rewarded with the role as education secretary by the Prime Minister in July 2019 despite being sacked as defense secretary by Mrs May earlier that year.

That firing came following an inquiry into the leak of information from a 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.

He was previously Mrs May’s chief whip, and in that period was best known in Westminster for keeping a pet tarantula named Cronus on his desk and he has acquired the nickname Private Pike, after the hapless Dad’s Army character.

Political reaction to his knighthood

Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Munira Wilson said: “The only award Gavin Williamson should be given is the one for worst education secretary in history.

“People across the country will be outraged at this reward for his abysmal failures.

“It is an insult to every child, parent and teacher who struggled through Covid against the odds. It shows this government only cares about those at the top.”

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Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “Gavin Williamson left children to go hungry, created two years of complete chaos over exams and failed to get laptops out to kids struggling to learn during lockdowns.

“His record is astonishing and disgraceful.

“This shows utter contemplation for the challenges children and education staff have faced during the pandemic.”

Read more about Gary Neville: Gary Neville makes sly dig at Manchester United owners after Roman Abramovich controversy

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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