Man who helped May into power is believed to have own leadership goals
Gavin Williamson (41) emerged from relative obscurity to hold one of the most senior positions in the British cabinet in November 2017.
The Yorkshireman was also a major broker in the confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP which has been propping up the Conservative government since June last year. The married father-of-two was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and represents the English constituency of South Staffordshire.
He was given a brief role within the Northern Ireland Office before going on to serve as junior parliamentary secretary for former prime minister David Cameron. Following Mr Cameron's resignation in the wake of the EU Referendum in June 2016, Mr Williamson helped Theresa May secure leadership of the Conservative Party and her move into No 10 Downing Street.
The successful campaign manager's loyalty was rewarded when Mrs May appointed him to the role of chief whip, making him the youngest person to serve in that capacity since Ted Heath in the 1950s.
The former owner of a pottery firm has also worked as a manager in a fireplace manufacturers and he has a reputation for bullish candour and wit.
His efforts to reinvent himself as Brexiteer have been interpreted as evidence of his naked ambition to one day lead the Conservative party.