The foreign secretary Jeremy hunt has said police are to decide whether or not to launch a criminal investigation over the Huawei leak, not politicians.
Gavin Williamson the former defence secretary was dramatically sacked on Wednesday as “compelling evidence” was found that he was behind the leak.
Williamson has strenuously denied the allegations and said he is the victim of a “kangaroo court” that was investigated by Sir Mark Sedwill the Cabinet secretary.
Answering a question by the Press Association Hunt said, “Let me say that, when it comes to issues like whether there should be a police investigation or not, there’s a very, very important principle of our system that those decisions are not made by politicians, they are made independently by police.
“And that has to be the correct way forward in this situation.”
Speaking to the Times Williamson said, “I volunteered everything up. I couldn’t have volunteered more information on the whole thing.
“Frankly I’d rather have had a police inquiry, because the beauty of a police inquiry is I’d have been absolutely exonerated and would have been in the clear.”
Opposition parties are demanding a police investigation, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has requested a statement from the prime minister on the findings of the leak.
Nia Griffith, shadow defence secretary told BBC2’s Newsnight, “Clearly, there’s a real breakdown in discipline and Theresa May now needs to take absolutely firm action, and, quite frankly, I think she needs to call in the police and have a full investigation, because we are talking, actually, breaking the Official Secrets Act and, actually, there may well be a case to answer here.
“I think it was absolutely treacherous – both to the country, but also to the Prime Minister.
“If you are going to run a government, you need loyalty from your ministers, you need loyalty from your Cabinet.
“We have here a case of yet another Tory minister putting leadership ambition before the good of the country.”
Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat deputy leader has written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick asking a criminal investigation is launched.
Swinson’s letter states, “I am writing to ask you to open a criminal investigation to ascertain whether the actions of Mr Williamson constitute a breach of the Official Secrets Act.”
However, former Army chief general Lord Dannatt defended Williamson’s time as defence secretary.
Lord Dannatt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “He got £1.8bn extra in the Budget last year and was continuing to argue the case for more resources in the Spending Review and he was fighting his corner.
“Yes, he made some mistakes, he made some gaffes, and said some things that he probably regretted, but on the whole he was doing a good job.”
Lord Dannatt spoke with Williamson on the phone after he was sacked, he said, Last night he was very much protesting his innocence.
“He has been trying very hard to argue the toss for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), for the armed forces, with the Treasury to get more resources.
“He has to protest his innocence over this, otherwise he is laying himself open to potentially criminal prosecution.”