United Kingdom defence secretary dismissed over Huawei leak

Britain's International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt arrives at 10 Downing Street to attend a Cabinet meeting in London

Britain's International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt arrives at 10 Downing Street to attend a Cabinet meeting in London

Britain's Prime Minister has sacked her Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, accusing him of leaking information from a meeting of the National Security Council last week.

Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, was hence fired on Wednesday and while he wasn't personally accused of leaking sensitive details of the British government's discussions concerning the future of telecommunications and all critical systems supported by the said tech in the country, the move was officially associated as a reaction to the leak.

The Cabinet minister was sacked by Theresa May on Wednesday after an inquiry into an unprecedented leak of information from the National Security Council (NSC).

The inquiry came after reports surfaced over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK's new 5G network despite growing security concerns surrounding the Chinese hardware maker.

The US reasoned its claim stating that because Huawei is in close ties with its home government, China, it makes it a national security risk for the US.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

But while the ex-minister acknowledges being asked about what happened at the NSC, Williamson insists he told him nothing - and adds that his own admission of the phone call shows that he can not be guilty.

It is understood the information leaked from the meeting was not judged by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to be of a classification level that would require a criminal investigation.

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"Therefore this matter can not be, as the prime minister says, closed".

'As this directly pertains to our work in scrutinising the NSC, the committee would like to be apprised of the outcomes of this leak inquiry once it is complete'. But it seems only to have unleashed yet another political storm for the British prime minister, with members of her own party questioning her judgment and opponents demanding the police be called in.

In a letter to Williamson, May said that the probe "provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorized disclosure".

Theresa May's effective deputy David Lidington told MPs the Government will "co-operate fully" with any police investigation into a possible breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Williamson has been replaced by worldwide development secretary Penny Mordaunt, the first woman to hold the post.

Even some Conservative MPs have rounded on the Prime Minister, with one accusing her of subjecting Mr. Williamson to a "kangaroo court" with no chance to properly defend himself. 'The gravity of this issue alone, and its ramifications for the operation of the NSC and the UK's national interest, warrants the serious steps we have taken and an equally serious response, ' she wrote. May has said she considers the matter closed.

"No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified", May added. "As a matter of natural justice, how is the former defence secretary now going to be given an opportunity to prove his innocence?"

It is vital that I have full confidence in the members of my Cabinet and of the National Security Council.

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