Williamson never lived up to the ‘baby-faced assassin’ styling: ANDREW PIERCE on a sinking minister who was always out of his depthBy Published: 23:31, 1 May 2019 | Updated: 23:31, 1 May 2019 e-mail 6 shares 397 View comments When Downing Street announced Gavin Williamson’s dismissal last night, the loudest cheer came from the military top brass who never thought he was up to the job and had come to despise him.Within days of leap-frogging far more experienced colleagues to become the youngest Defence Secretary at the age of 41 in 2017, they had dubbed him ‘Private Pike’ after the dithering drip in the comedy classic Dad’s Army.Yesterday few Tory MPs were shocked to learn that Williamson, whose ambition always exceeded his ability, was being blamed by Downing Street for the National Security Council leak over Theresa May’s plan to let Chinese firm Huawei help build the UK’s 5G network. Mr Williamson took part in ice breaking drills in Bardufoss, Norway, in February. It came as he announced that British forces were to step up Arctic deployment to protect NATO's northern flank from Russia Yesterday, Mr Williamson was blamed by Downing Street for the National Security Council leak over Theresa May’s plan to let Chinese firm Huawei help build the UK’s 5G network Mr Williamson took up the post of Defence Secretary in November 2017 having served as the MP for South Staffordshire since the 2010 election (pictured in 2016) ‘We stopped taking bets on Williamson days ago,’ one senior Tory MP told me last night. ‘He has been the embodiment of indiscretion at the MoD.’ Yet once upon a time, Williamson’s principal job was as a keeper of secrets.As a reward for running Mrs May’s successful 2016 leadership campaign, she made him Chief Whip – where he was charged with gathering information about MPs’ indiscretions and misdemeanours, not only to try to pre-empt potential scandals, but also to use them to ‘persuade’ MPs to fall into line on tricky votes. RELATED ARTICLES Share this article Share He flourished in his role as the party’s enforcer of discipline. Whips need feline cunning and steeliness – both of which Williamson demonstrated when he extinguished a rebellion against the PM after she lost her voice in a disastrous 2017 party conference speech.Living up to his nickname of ‘baby-faced assassin’, he immediately ousted the ringleader – former Tory chairman Grant Shapps – in the media. Tory MPs loyal to May then queued up to denounce Shapps publicly. The attempted coup fizzled out and Shapps was humiliated. ‘I don’t very much believe in the stick,’ softly-spoken Williamson has joked of his whipping style, ‘but it’s amazing what can be achieved with a sharpened carrot’. Famously, Williamson kept a pet Mexican tarantula (pictured), called Cronus, in a glass box on his desk Williamson walks from Parliament after attending Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday Famously, he kept a pet Mexican tarantula, called Cronus, in a glass box on his desk. Cronus was the Greek god who came to power by castrating his father before eating his own children to ensure they wouldn’t oust him – a tale which many of his colleagues believed was symbolic of Williamson’s vaulting ambition.Such suspicions were confirmed for many in November 2017, when Williamson encouraged the PM to force Sir Michael Fallon to quit as Defence Secretary in November 2017 after he was accused of making sexually lewd comments.No one, however, foresaw that Williamson would position himself as Fallon’s replacement. He was the unlikeliest of candidates, having neither held ministerial office nor ever spoken from the dispatch box in the Commons chamber.Shamelessly ambitious, however, Williamson spared no blushes in his attempt to raise his profile at the Ministry of Defence. He spoke passionately of the importance of our armed forces, seemed to enjoy donning combat fatigues at every opportunity, and campaigned hard for the MoD to get more cash. And to his credit, he worked extraordinarily long hours.But his tenure was tainted from the start by a series of leaks that caused consternation among senior military and intelligence figures for whom discretion is everything and who had huge respect for Williamson’s predecessor.Last June, newspapers were briefed that at a private meeting with Mrs May, Williamson had been told to justify whether Britain should remain a ‘top-tier’ military power alongside the US, Russia, China and France. Downing Street officials are convinced that Williamson was behind the reports. Gavin Williamson is seen in his first public appearance since being appointed as defence secretary in November, 2017. He is conducting the band of the Grenadier Guards at Waterloo Station in London Williamson (pictured) earned a less-than-desirable reputation during his time in the role, regularly inviting the Captain Mainwaring response of 'Stupid Boy!'It wasn’t the first time that political and military officials suspected Williamson of displaying a sieve-like approach to classified conversations. Last January, there was disbelief when Williamson brazenly alleged that Russia was ready to kill ‘thousands and thousands and thousands’ of British citizens in a cyber-attack. Security chiefs furiously accused Williamson of using secrets provided by US spies – which he denied.More cynical observers pointed out that his incendiary warnings conveniently surfaced on the day that Williamson, a married father of two, admitted to a ‘flirtatious relationship’ with a former colleague in 2004. It took place while he was working for a fireplace manufacturing firm in Yorkshire before he became an MP in 2010.‘It became flirtatious and a couple of times we shared a kiss, but it “never went further”, Williamson said then. ‘My family means everything to me and I almost threw it away. This incident nearly destroyed two marriages.”Gavin Alexander Williamson, 42, was brought up in Scarborough by his Labour-supporting parents, Ray, a local government worker, and Beverley, who worked in a call centre. He attended a comprehensive followed by Bradford University where he read social sciences. His wife, Joanne, was a primary school teacher and the couple have two daughters.After running a pottery and design firm, and becoming a Tory county councillor in 2001, he won the safe seat of South Staffordshire in 2010. For three years he was David Cameron’s parliamentary private secretary, although he had little in common with the metropolitan crew who surrounded the Old Etonian PM. After Cameron’s resignation, Williamson vowed allegiance to May.As Chief Whip he was sent to Ulster by No10 after the botched 2017 general election, to secure the coalition deal with the ten Democratic Unionist Party MPs whose support props up the Tories.His reward was the MoD and a seat at the Cabinet. If military chiefs had early suspicions that he lacked statesman-like credentials, Williamson’s infantile comments after the Novichok poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury confirmed them.In remarks that would make Winston Churchill, himself a two-time Defence Secretary, turn in his grave, Williamson told Russia to ‘go away and shut up’.But by last summer, following his puerile warning that he would ‘bring down’ the Government unless he secured more cash for the military, Williamson’s star had started to fade.‘He was a marked man after those remarks,’ said a source.In the Autumn, his own Department started to brief against him after civil servants claimed he had devised schemes to ease an equipment crisis by putting ‘really expensive guns’ on tractors. Williamson denied he had proposed the plans, which were branded ‘madcap’ by MoD sources.That they were even being discussed, however, suggests that the top brass were right from the start – Gavin Williamson was never the ‘professional’ he so fervently believed himself to be. . Лучших изображений доски «Торты»: 22 | Wedding ideas . archiveofourown.org.