A defiant Gavin Williamson launched an astonishing attack on
In an extraordinary interview with the Daily Mail, the sacked Defence Secretary said he swore on his ‘children’s lives’ that he was innocent.
He revealed what happened when the Prime Minister sacked him in disgrace and accused her of betraying him after he had ‘dug her out of a few holes in the past’.
And in a desperate attempt to salvage his reputation, he provocatively turned the tables on Sir Mark, claiming the inquiry was rigged and accusing him of leaking against Mr Williamson.
Mr Williamson was adamant that Mrs May had fired the wrong man – or woman. And he made no attempt to hide his fury. ‘The PM has just sacked someone who is not guilty and who has dug her out of a few holes in the past,’ he told the Daily Mail.
In an extraordinary interview with the Daily Mail, the sacked Defence Secretary (pictured on Wednesday) said he swore on his ‘children’s lives’ that he was innocent
Mr Williamson’s dismissal came days after he went on the record to deny that he had leaked details of the National Security Council meeting. Struggling to compose himself after his political career ended in ignominy, Mr Williamson said: ‘It’s all a bit chaotic, as you can imagine.’
He explained how Mrs May sacked him: ‘We sat down and she offered me the opportunity to resign and I said, “I can’t resign PM, because I haven’t leaked it and I would rather you sacked me than me to accept something I or my team have not done”.’
Mr Williamson was adamant that Mrs May had fired the wrong man – or woman. And he made no attempt to hide his fury.
‘The PM has just sacked someone who is not guilty and who has dug her out of a few holes in the past,’ he said. ‘I pointed out that I had saved her a couple of times, kept her as PM.’
Mr Williamson added sarcastically that it was ‘a shame she didn’t recognise the fact’. He recounted how Mrs May rejected his repeated pleas to believe him, telling her: ‘I have never leaked anything from the National Security Council, nor would I. I absolutely promise, hand on heart, I did not leak this.
‘I realise my obituary will say I did, but I swear on my children’s lives I did not.’
Despite his bitterness and protestations of innocence, Mr Williamson (pictured in his role as defence secretary) is resigned to his fate
Gavin Williamson performs the cutting of the sod during a visit to RAF Lossiemouth during his role as defence secretary
But she was unmoved: ‘She just wasn’t willing to accept that.’ Mr Williamson said he had raised ‘concerns about the [leak] investigation’ with Mrs May early on because he believed Sir Mark was pointing the finger of blame at him.
‘I asked to speak to her because it looked a bit dodgy,’ he added.
‘I had heard before it started that Mark Sedwill had briefed out to the National Security Council meeting that [the culprit] was me.’ He said Sir Mark had ‘leaked information’ about Mr Williamson concerning a text message he had sent as Defence Secretary.
He claimed Sir Mark’s inquiry team had also ‘leaked information about how I’d been interviewed to The Daily Telegraph [which published the original leak] but they didn’t run it’. Mr Williamson said Sir Mark had given the Prime Minister ‘alternative’ explanations for the leak but he did not expand on this. ‘You can speak to the journalist – he will say I did not leak this,’ he added.
Theresa May faced Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today before the revelations emerged
Despite his bitterness and protestations of innocence, Mr Williamson is resigned to his fate.
‘You’ve got to be realistic – this is politics,’ he said. ‘You live by the sword and die by the sword. I am pretty well buggered but I will just have to live with it. When you’ve been chief whip and Defence Secretary, you don’t expect to go on doing these jobs forever and a day.’
He added that he had been privileged to serve as Defence Secretary with ‘the opportunity to work with the Armed Forces, the best in the world’. He said that after being fired by the Prime Minister he had ‘wished her the very best – but just for her to understand that she had sacked someone who hadn’t leaked it’.
He reflected: ‘There’s nothing worse than politicians sounding miserable about their loss.
‘But it’s galling to be hung for a crime you didn’t commit. ‘I didn’t do it. There’s not an awful lot more I can bloody say because I’m just incredibly gutted not to be carrying on a job I love.
‘I would certainly never have jeopardised it by leaking anything from the NSC.’
He has no plans to quit as an MP.