BBC – Sir Gavin Williamson has resigned as a government minister after allegations of bullying, saying he aims to clear himself of “any wrongdoing”.
He said he “refuted” how his “past conduct” had been characterised.
However, he said the claims had become a distraction from the government’s “good work”.
He added he would comply with a complaints process concerning messages he sent a colleague, and that he had apologised to the recipient.
In his resignation letter, he said he was leaving government with “real sadness” but offered Prime Minister Rishi Sunak his “full and total support from the backbenches”.
Sir Gavin had become under increasing pressure since a series of expletive-laden text messages sent by him to Tory colleague and then-Chief Whip Wendy Morton were published on Sunday.
And on Monday a senior civil servant told the Guardian Sir Gavin had bullied them and told them to “slit your throat”.
Earlier, Downing Street said it had been seeking to establish the facts about the reported comments.
Sir Gavin had also been reported to the MPs’ bullying watchdog over his WhatsApps to Ms Morton.
In them, he appears to complain MPs not “favoured” by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss were being excluded from attending the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.
He accused Ms Morton of “rigging” the ticket allocation to punish people – including himself – who were not supportive enough of Ms Truss.
Sir Gavin reportedly warned Ms Morton “not to push him about” and that “there is a price for everything”.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Sunak said the language was “not acceptable” but asked if it amounted to bullying, he said it was “right” to let an independent complaints process conclude.