May has undermined her authority further by promoting Gavin Williamson

PA Archive  PA Images

PA Archive PA Images

Since the chief whip advises the PM on promotions, "some Conservatives are suggesting that he, in effect, promoted himself", says George Eaton in the New Statesman.

TORY backbenchers have criticised the "bizarre" appointment of new defence secretary Gavin Williamson - with some of party's MPs expressing "head-in-hands despair". The government said lawmaker Esther McVey would take on Smith's former role.

Mrs May had been tipped to appoint Britain's first female Defence Secretary, but opted instead to promote a close confidant to the role.

Posting on Twitter, Mr Timothy also rubbished the idea Mr Williamson had played a role in his own appointment as "absurd".

But The Tory MP Sarah Wollaston told the BBC: "I think it would be worth reflecting whether there were others that were more experienced and suitable for that role".

British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Gavin Williamson as new defence minister, Thursday (11/2/2017), after her ally Michael Fallon quit in a sexual harassment scandal that has prompted calls for an end to the "locker room" culture in parliament.

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"The house clearing that is about to happen needs to happen, and we can never go back to where we were before", she said.

Aldridge-Brownhills MP Wendy Morton said: "In the short time I have been in Parliament I have seen in Gavin someone who is an example of an effective local MP and also an extremely effective Westminster MP".

Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of the General Staff, said the appointment was "obviously heavily political in so far as she has chosen a leading lieutenant to support her in Cabinet".

So why has May appointed the South Staffordshire MP, rather than one of his many colleagues with ministerial experience?

Theresa May is facing backlash from Conservative MPs after naming her chief whip to replace defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who resigned over his past conduct towards women.

Like Sir Michael, Mr Williamson was a Remain supporter in last year's referendum, so the move will help to maintain the balance of views over Brexit in the Cabinet.

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