Gavin Williamson fails to nail tough guy act by telling Russia to 'shut up'
Watch: the defence secretary told Vladimir Putin to 'go away' and 'shut up'.
When The Guardian profiled the defence secretary earlier this year, the subs were not exactly kind to the top Tory. The headline stated: “Gavin Williamson: ruthless, brilliant and a little bit Alan Partridge.”
Today the defence secretary made it clear that The Guardian (and others) might have been on to something.
"We will look at how Russia responds to what we have done, it is absolutely atrocious and outrageous what Russia did in Salisbury," he said in a speech.
And then came the coup de grâce:
“Russia should go away, it should shut up.”
It's fair to say that the fearsome rhetoric failed to win over the watching press pack, with The Guardian’s John Crace suggesting that the Russians might not be quaking in their boots just yet.
“Inside the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin was thrown into a state of profound confusion. No one had ever talked to him like that before. At least, not since nursery school.”
And the Telegraph’s Michael Deacon agreeing that the defence secretary had not quite nailed the art of tough talking:
“Desperately though he strains for gravitas… Mr Williamson is afflicted by an incurable air of unseriousness... he just doesn’t look like a defence secretary. He looks like a candidate on The Apprentice, fired in week three after trying to flog a crate of halibut to a floor of bemused accountants.”
On Twitter, it didn’t get much better for the defence secretary.
As one person put it upon seeing what Williamson had said: "The teaser for the new Alan Partridge show is hilarious."