UK Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to replace her Defense Secretary as a growing sexual harassment scandal added to the pressure on a government already struggling with the fallout from Brexit.
May named a key Conservative Party fixer, Gavin Williamson, to fill the post vacated after the resignation of Michael Fallon, who admitted his behaviour towards women had “fallen short” during his career.
Williamson, 41, has been the government’s Chief Whip since 2016, in which role he was responsible for enforcing parliamentary discipline within the party. He had also been serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury.
His rapid promotion to a top Cabinet position has prompted questions in some quarters over his qualifications.
Williamson is known for his loyalty to May, commentators say, but does not have a military background or prior ministerial experience. Fallon was the first minister to resign after a swirl of allegations swept British political circles in recent weeks.