Boris Johnson criticized for knighting Gavin Williamson

Boris Johnson was criticized on Thursday for rewarding failure by knighting former education minister Sir Gavin Williamson after he mishandled exam results during the pandemic.

The British Prime Minister sacked Williamson, 45, in a reshuffle last year after he was widely criticized for his handling of exams in 2020, when a statistical model was scrapped after the results downgraded for high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

He previously served as defense minister but was fired in 2019 after a security investigation into leaked National Security Council meeting minutes.

Williamson, a Conservative MP for South Staffordshire since 2010, is also closely involved in the leadership campaigns of Johnson and former Prime Minister Theresa May. He was awarded a CBE in 2016 for public service and politics.

Williamson was feared by many in Johnson’s inner circle because of his time as chief, when he was said to have collected a secret “blacklist”. During this period, he kept a pet dog on his desk named Cronus, which was used to intimidate Conservative MPs.

Downing Street announced on Thursday “The Queen has delightedly approved that the Knighthood honor is awarded to CBE MP Rt Hon Gavin Williamson.”

Bridget Phillipson, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said the chivalry movement showed “utter contempt for the challenges faced by children and education workers during the pandemic”.

“Gavin Williamson let the kids go hungry, creating two years of total chaos because of exams and not getting laptops for kids who were struggling to learn during the lockdown. His record is astounding and shameful,” she said.

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, describes gongs as a “reward for failure”.

“I have been closely involved with education policy for almost 20 years, and Williamson is the worst secretary of state by a long time,” said Sam Freedman, former special counsel at the Department of Education.

Munira Wilson, education spokeswoman for the Liberal Democratic Party, was similarly critical. “The only award Gavin Williamson should be given is the one for the worst education secretary in history. Parents across the country will resent this award for his catastrophic failures,” she said.

Williamson has yet to comment on the knighthood.

Senior Conservatives say Williamson is eager to boost the prospect of foreign secretary Liz Truss, who is at the forefront of replacing Johnson if he is forced to step down as prime minister over the so-called ‘partisan’ scandal. in Downing Street parties have broken Covid-19 restrictions.

An influential Tory MP said: “Gav is maneuvering again and he is clearly backing Liz for leadership and is not afraid to tell them. But with him, you never know what he’s really up to.”

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