LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stands alongside a government minister who has been accused of bullying a fellow cabinet minister Olivier Dowden said on Sunday, saying the phone messages in question were sent “in the heat of the moment.”
The allegations, reported by the Sunday Times newspaper, surfaced just days after criticism from Sunak to renew Suella Braverman as Home Secretary after being fired by her predecessor for breaking email security rules.
The Sunday Times published text messages sent by Gavin Williamson, a cabinet minister, to the former chief whip, or Conservative party enforcer, Wendy Morton, in which he criticized her and used expletive language.
The newspaper said he was angry he was not invited to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral and that Morton had made a formal complaint to the ruling party.
“They were said in the heat of the moment, expressing frustration. It was a tough time for the party. I think he accepts now that he shouldn’t have done it and he regrets it.” , Dowden told Sky News.
“He shouldn’t have sent those messages… But of course the Prime Minister continues to have faith in Gavin Williamson.”
Since being named Britain’s third prime minister in two months nearly two weeks ago, Sunak has come under pressure over his government appointments, in particular Braverman’s reappointment as home secretary.
She has been criticized by some lawmakers for stoking tensions over immigration by saying Britain faces an “invasion” of people traveling in small boats crossing the English Channel.
“Rishi Sunak’s promise to restore integrity, professionalism and accountability has come to light as nothing more than empty words,” said Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the main opposition Labor Party.
“Far from stopping the rot in Downing Street, he is letting it fester.”

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