UK Defence Secretary fired after Huawei decision leak

Gavin Williamson has been sacked as Defence Secretary

The information, which was shared during an April 23 meeting of the National Security Council, concerned Huawei's possible involvement in developing the UK's 5G network.

Mr Williamson's allies indicated the inquiry was a stitch-up and blamed a feud with Sir Mark.

The question at the heart of the debate is whether the leak qualifies as a breach of the Official Secrets Act, or OAS, which concerns the damaging disclosure of any information relating to security or intelligence.

Lib Dem Jo Swinson has written to Met commissioner Cressida Dick to ask for an investigation into the sacked minister to be launched. "But it is virtually certain that the new secretary of defense will have a better relationship with the prime minister than the outgoing one, and this can only be good for defense".

Labour backed the Lib Dem call for action against Mr Williamson, who reportedly tried to implicate Mrs May's deputy David Lidington over the leak. However, Scotland Yard told the BBC that no investigation is underway and it is a matter for NSC and the Cabinet Office.

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.

"A kangaroo court with a summary execution".

She added: "That is why I commissioned the cabinet secretary to establish an investigation into the unprecedented leak from the NSC meeting last week, and why I expected everyone connected to it - ministers and officials alike - to comply with it fully".

In a statement, Huawei said it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based".

But in a letter from May to Williamson on Wednesday, she said her investigation "provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure". Williamson had been offered the chance to resign but refused as he believed doing so would make him look guilty.

"The prime minister thanks all members of the National Security Council for their full cooperation and candour during the investigation and considers the matter closed".

A Downing Street source said May had to move against a cabinet leaks culture that was threatening to overwhelm her premiership, and expressed the hope it would kill leaks from the NSC "stone dead".

Theresa May appointed Williamson as Defence Minister back in 2016 in a decision that raised eyebrows of her colleagues and the public, given that the appointee had no military background.

He was immediately replaced by the UK's first woman Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, whose position of International Development Secretary was filled by prisons minister Rory Stewart.

"I am sorry that you feel recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my department".

The former defence secretary however is still maintaining that he was not responsible.

A Chinese official accused Williamson of a return to a "Cold War mentality", while British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond had to cancel a trip to China in the aftermath.

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