Defence secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked on Wednesday by Theresa May, as he has been accused of leaking top secret discussions over Huawei’s role in building the 5G network in the UK.
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that the prime minister gave the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei a green light to help build the 5G network.
It was reported that the decision was made by the National Security Council (NSC) which is chaired by the prime minister and is made up of intelligence chiefs and senior ministers, such as the defence secretary.
The Chinese company was bidding to help build the 5G network and came under heavy fire due to their close ties with the Chinese state.
Under Chinese law companies are compelled to “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work.”
Meetings by the NSC are a matter of national security and therefore held behind closed doors, so when the Telegraph reported the Huawei decision the uproar started.
The leak which the prime minister has blamed on Williams could cause severe problems with Britain’s intelligence relationships with key allies.
Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet secretary carried out the enquiry and May said his investigation uncovered “compelling evidence” that Williamson is the cause of the leak and he did not cooperate fully with Sedwill’s enquiry.
Williamson strenuously denied the allegations that he or any of his staff were to blame, he refused to resign so May sacked him.
He rejected the offer to resign, saying that this would have sent a signal that he accepted either he or his team was guilty.
— Gavin Williamson (@GavinWilliamson) May 1, 2019
Speaking with the Daily Telegraph Williamson said he has been “completely screwed” and May “has got the wrong person and the person who did leak this is still out there.”
What seems odd is that the enquiry allegedly uncovered so early Williamson’s involvement however, he prefers the police investigate the leak as he would have been “absolutely exonerated.”
All those who attend the NSC are bound by the Official Secrets Act, Labour has led calls for the police to investigate to ascertain if any breach has been committed.
Scotland Yard are not carrying out an inquiry however, they will investigate any information “that would suggest criminal offences have been committed.”
Downing Street has said May “considers the matter to be closed.”
A Huawei employee was arrested in Poland in January whilst working on 5G services on suspicion of spying, with a member of the Polish intelligence service.
The telecoms giant said that Wang Weijing was sacked and that he was operating on his own.
Huawei said in a statement, 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”.
Penny Mordaunt has been appointed defence secretary and has made history as she is the female to have ever held the role, she previously served as the armed forces minister.
Mordant is a sub lieutenant, Navy Reservist of the Portsmouth based HMS King Alfred, the first reservist to hold the role, and she is also a prominent leave campaigner.