Gavin Williamson is facing an investigation over a series of abusive and threatening messages sent to the then Tory chief whip complaining he had been excluded from the Queen’s funeral.
The cabinet minister, who was a backbencher at the time, accused Wendy Morton of using the death of the monarch to “punish” senior MPs who were out of favour with Liz Truss’s government.
The exchange of messages, obtained by the Sunday Times, concluded with him saying: “Well let’s see how many more times you fuck us all over. There is a price for everything.”
The paper said the then party chairman, Sir Jake Berry, informed Rishi Sunak the day before he entered No 10 that Morton had submitted a formal complaint to the party about Williamson’s conduct.
Both Berry and Morton lost their jobs in the ensuing reshuffle while Williamson – a former education secretary and a supporter of Sunak – returned to government.
In the messages, Williamson complained it was “very poor” that privy councillors – senior politicians who formally advise the monarch – who “aren’t favoured” have been excluded from the funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Morton repeatedly insisted that his claims were unfounded and that the government had been allocated an “extremely limited” number of tickets, most of which went to members of the cabinet.
Williamson retorted: “It’s very clear how you are going to treat a number of us which is very stupid and you are showing fuck all interest in pulling things together.
“Also this shows exactly how you have rigged it is is (sic) disgusting you are using her death to punish people who are just supportive, absolutely disgusting. Well let’s see how many more times you fuck us all over. There is a price for everything.”
Berry told the Sunday Times that he was informed by the Conservative party chief executive on 24 October that a complaint had been made against Williamson regarding allegations of “bullying and intimidation of parliamentary colleagues”.
“In compliance with protocol, in my capacity as party chairman, I informed both the new prime minister and his incoming chief of staff about the complaint on the same day,” he said.
According to the Sunday Times, Sunak did not recall the “specifics” of their conversation.
Williamson was made a privy councillor and awarded a knighthood by Boris Johnson when he was prime minister earlier this year.
He was sacked by Theresa May as defence secretary for leaking details of a national security council meeting and then by Johnson as education secretary over the Covid-19 A-levels debacle.
The Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said Sunak’s decision to bring Williamson back into government called his judgment into question.
“Gavin Williamson was sacked from cabinet twice, yet despite risking national security, he’s back at the heart of government,” she said.
“Rishi Sunak’s pledge to restore integrity, professionalism and accountability has been exposed as nothing more than hollow words. Far from stopping the rot in Downing Street, he’s letting it fester.”
A Conservative party spokesperson said: “The Conservative party has a robust complaints process in place. This process is rightly a confidential one, so that complainants can come forward in confidence.”
Williamson told The Sunday Times: “I of course regret getting frustrated about the way colleagues and I felt we were being treated. I am happy to speak with Wendy and I hope to work positively with her in the future as I have in the past.”