Talking tough to China is typical of Mrs May’s gaffe-prone defence secretary
Gavin Williamson is a loose cannon. That would not matter so much if, as was the case until a couple of years ago, he was a government whip whose views were of little account. But Theresa May’s surprise decision to make Williamson defence secretary has given him an international platform, and a degree of responsibility, to which he appears ill-suited.
Until now, his most publicised blunder concerned his schoolboy remarks following last year’s chemical weapons attack in Salisbury. Asked how he thought Vladimir Putin might respond to British sanctions, he replied: “Frankly, Russia should go away and it should shut up.” He was widely mocked.
Williamson’s clumsiness reflects what seems to be an established predilection on his part for hawkish remarks