Cronus no more: Gavin Williamson takes his tarantula home

Written by James Millar on 11 June 2018 in Diary

Defence Secretary's pet spider has been banished from the MoD 

Until he became defence secretary the most interesting thing about Gavin Williamson was that he kept a tarantula on his desk. 

But according to a new profile of the youthful cabinet minister even that is no longer true. Apparently an arachnophobe Ministry of Defence colleague was too terrified to come to work as long as the spider was in the building. Rather than questioning how anyone afraid of a spider in a glass tank in another room would cope in the event of all out war officials ordered Williamson to take the Mexican red-legged tarantula back to his Staffordshire home.

The pet, named Cronus after a Greek god who ate his own children, was a fixture on Williamson's desk while he was Conservative chief whip and it initially moved with him to the MoD building on Whitehall. However the decision to ditch Cronus has also been seen as part of a move to be taken more seriously.

Williamson was initially dubbed 'Private Pike', after the immature Dad's Army character, when he took over at the MoD. Since then details of an office romance when he was a fireplace salesman have emerged and he was widely mocked for responding to the Sergei Skripal Salisbury poisoning by suggesting Russia should "shut up and go away".

However he's understood to harbour leadership ambitions and it's claimed in the same Buzzfeed news profile piece that one of his aides has been canvassing support in recent weeks while Williamson himself is gearing up for a campaign to win more funding for the armed forces, a step likely to swell support among Tory party members.

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