United Kingdom defense secretary fired over Huawei leak


Gavin Williamson has been sacked as defence secretary, following reports that he allegedly revealed secret information from an important government meeting.

"Gavin Williamson, unlike a civil servant who had been found to have briefed a journalist after a national security council meeting, still has a job, plus a £17,000 payoff and a seat on the privy council".

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick indicated that it would be for ministers to trigger an inquiry.

The 42-year-old was a trusted ally of the prime minister.

He called for a criminal investigation into leaks from the security council, which is made up of senior ministers who receive briefings from military and intelligence chiefs.

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.

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The PM also said he had failed to engage with the leak inquiry by Sir Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser, the Financial Times says.

"In what world is it acceptable that the prime minister should be the arbiter of whether a politician she believes guilty of criminal conduct in office should face a criminal investigation?" said Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the opposition Labour Party.

Williamson hit back, telling Sky News that the investigation had been a "witch hunt" and claiming he was the victim of a "kangaroo court with a summary execution".

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.

Prof Travers said: "The UK and the U.S. don't agree on everything and there are occasions when the United States and the UK don't agree on matters of defence and foreign policy".

In her letter to Mr Williamson, Prime Minister Theresa May said: 'Thank you for your time this evening. I couldn't have volunteered more information on the whole thing.

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A formal decision on launching an investigation would be taken by the Met, she said, adding: "That is hypothetical because we have not had any referral from the Cabinet Office".

A government spokesman said that while it wasn't up to the government, as far as May was concerned the matter was now closed.

The investigation caused May to "lose confidence" in Williamson, and resulted in her asking him to leave the government, said 10 Downing Street in an official statement.

The Tonbridge and Malling MP spoke out at Prime Minister's Questions before the news of the sacking of the defence secretary.

"Within the last week, Williamson sought to blame officials for the leak itself and then accused the Cabinet Secretary of waging a personal vendetta against him".

Furthermore, China recently enacted the National Intelligence Law, which compels Chinese telecoms firms to "support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work".

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In response to the sacking, Mr Williamson said: "I am sorry you feel recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my Department".