Gavin Williamson: 7 must-know facts about the new defence secretary

Gavin Williamson

The former Tory Chief Whip Gavin Williamson has replaced Michael Fallon as the country’s secretary of defence, but who is this rising Conservative star?

1. Before parliament

Before his election to parliament, Williamson graduated from the University of Bradford, and according to Conservative Home, he worked in pottery, architecture and design.

2. First elected

Williamson is one of the 2010 parliamentary intake, having first been elected for the seat of South Staffordshire when David Cameron ended thirteen years of New Labour government - a seat that has been safely held by Conservatives since 1983. Williamson won with 69.8% of the vote this June, well ahead of the 25.3% achieved by his Labour opponent.

Gavin Williamson and The Owl

3. Parliamentary rise

In 2012, he was made PPS to the transport secretary, followed by a big promotion to PPS to Prime Minister David Cameron one year later. He held the role until Cameron’s downfall in July 2017, but was promoted to chief whip by incoming prime minister Theresa May.

4. His tarantula

According to the New Statesman, he has a tarantula that sits on his desk at work – named Cronus. Seriously.

5. The anti-Boris candidate?

Following David Cameron’s departure from Britain’s top job, Williamson led Theresa May’s campaign to become prime minister, promising to stop Johnson from taking over, as reported by the New Statesman. Could Williamson end up becoming the ultimate anti-Boris candidate in a future leadership contest?

Boris Johnson

6. The odds of him becoming the next Conservative leader

On Wednesday – before Fallon’s resignation - the odds of Williamson becoming leader were rather long. William Hill offered odds of 33/1 while Ladbrokes offered much longer odds of 66/1. Following his announcement as Fallon's replacement, the odds of him taking over from May were cut to 12/1 with William Hill and 20/1 with Ladbrokes, according to Oddschecker.

Watch out for Gavin Williamson.

7. Gavin the remainer

His political rise has been staggering to say the least, but one big obstacle stands in his way. If the Tories do end up electing a new leader in the coming years, following May’s premiership there could be a strong desire within the party to elect a Brexiteer. Unfortunately for Williamson, he backed remain, however, he is a fresh-face, something the party desperately needs if it is to see off the growing threat from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.