Here’s a thought: what if Gavin Williamson is telling the truth about the reasons for his expulsion from Theresa May’s collapsing cabinet of quarrelling dunces?
The former defence secretary was sacked by Mrs Maybe because she believes her internal inquiry fingered Williamson.
Now don’t run away with the idea that Williamson deserves our sympathy, for that’s a ridiculous notion. But his sacking yesterday does lead us to a game of She Said/He Said (Westminster edition).
She said her internal inquiry points to Williamson being the one who leaked information from the National Security Council about the decision to go ahead with allowing Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei to build parts of the UK’s new 5G network.
He said it wasn’t him and, being a strange sort, he swore on “his children’s lives” that it wasn’t him. What an odd thing to say, but then he’s an odd man, puddled in ambition and a sense of his own wonderfulness.
She said the evidence against him was “compelling”. He said he was the victim of a “kangaroo court” and “a summary execution” – suggesting that his defence brief has coloured his use of language. He also said the leak inquiry, as overseen by cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, had been “a witch hunt from the start”.
She said he had to resign; he said he wouldn’t. OK, she said, “you’re sacked”. He said, via sources, that “the prime minister had made a serious mistake”.
She said: “Serves you right – you try doing this job when everyone hates you. And this gets you back for telling a reporter that you made me and could break me. Who’s broken now, baby?”
Or something like that.
Williamson always seems too pleased with himself, too reliant on being a plain-speaking Yorkshireman (even though he often speaks nonsense), and too swaggeringly full of his brief, too much like a small boy who’s been given the keys to the gun cabinet.
He reportedly admits to talking to the Daily Telegraph reporter Steven Swinford on the phone for 11 minutes on the day of the leak, but denies he spilled any top-secret beans.
That sounds suspicious, but Theresa May could be wrong as that’s happened before, and her judgement is a thing much battered. What if he’s right and she’s wrong? The only way to answer that question would be for the police to launch an official inquiry into whether Williamson broke the Official Secrets Act.
Also, May promoted and backed Williamson, and that should stain her judgement, although they are said to have fallen out. Is this also a flailing prime minister trying to exert her authority? Theresa May always gives the impression of being a control freak – although one who isn’t much cop at the controlling part.
She is said to have run a stern ship at the Home Office, where her blind obsession with immigration figures created, among other disgraces, the Windrush scandal.
He Said/She Said. Who you gonna believe? Oh, frankly it’s not much of a choice.