Gavin Williamson admits office fling that nearly ended his marriage
Gavin Williamson has said an office romance with a junior colleague nearly led to the end of his marriage.
The Defence Secretary said the affair, which happened before he was an MP, was a “dreadful mistake” but that wife Joanne had forgiven him.
Mr Williamson, who was then working as a manager at a fireplace firm, said he and the woman kissed "a couple of times", but that it had not gone further than that.
He said party bosses were informed of the 2004 affair when he stood for selection more than a decade ago, while Downing Street are also said to know.
In a statement to the Daily Mail, Mr Williamson said: “I had a good relationship with everyone I worked with, but with one person this started to develop into something more.”
“We had to travel together and spent a lot of time in each other’s company, the relationship became flirtatious and a couple of times we shared a kiss.”
The minister said he quit working at the company after his involvement with the woman.
He added: “It never went further than that, but this had a profound impact on us both and those close to us.
“It was a dreadful mistake and stopped as suddenly as it had started. Having to explain to Joanne what had happened was one of the most difficult conversations of my life.
“I’ll never truly understand how she found it in her heart to forgive me, but I tell myself every day how lucky I am.”
He described his family as “everything to me” and said he continued to regret that he “almost threw it away”.
The revelations coincide with reports of a threat to Theresa May’s leadership and months after Mr Williamson, then her former Chief Whip, was handed the Defence brief after Michael Fallon's resignation.
And it comes as he ramps up the rhetoric against Moscow, with a warning that Russian plotting against UK infrastructure could cause "thousands of deaths".
He said the regime was "trying to spot vulnerabilities" in energy supplies which, if cut, could spark "total chaos" in the country.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Williamson warned that the Kremlin had been researching the types of electricity and gas connections from the UK to mainland Europe and in the case of the latter, to Russia.
He said: "They are going to be thinking, 'how can we just cause so much pain to Britain?
"Damage its economy, rip its infrastructure apart, actually cause thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths, but actually have an element of creating total chaos within the country."