The Cabinet Office is investigating the behavior of Mark Garnier, an international trade minister, who has admitted that he had asked a female member of his staff to buy sex toys before he took up his ministerial post.
Damian Green, a senior cabinet minister and one of Mrs. May’s closest allies, has described as completely false allegations that he behaved inappropriately toward a female activist.
More than 30 Conservative lawmakers have been mentioned on a list circulating on social media, but the names have been redacted and the types of misconduct alleged vary.
Other claims have involved the opposition Labour Party. A Labour activist, Bex Bailey, told the BBC earlier this week that she suffered a serious sexual assault at a Labour event in 2011 and that, when she later asked for advice from a senior staff member, she was advised that formally reporting what had occurred could damage her career prospects.
Mr. Williamson’s appointment, made in a brief statement by Mrs. May’s office Thursday morning, suggested that she wanted to keep changes to her top team as minimal as possible for the time being.
The defense portfolio remains in the hands of one of Mrs. May’s strongest supporters, and the appointment preserves the current delicate balance within the cabinet over the most sensitive issue confronting her government: Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit.
As chief whip, responsible for internal discipline among Conservative lawmakers, Mr. Williamson has taken a low public and media profile, although he is well-known at Westminster for keeping a pet tarantula.
Gavin Williamson Named New UK Defense Secretary – New York Times