Published: Fri, May 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

UK Prime Minister Fires Defense Secretary over Huawei Leaks

UK Prime Minister Fires Defense Secretary over Huawei Leaks

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked by British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, following a probe into a leak of information about Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Britain's Brexit decisions have been damaged by a year-long culture of cabinet leaks, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said in an apparent swipe at some of his colleagues, including Gavin Williamson who was sacked as defence secretary.

Last week it emerged that Britain would allow Huawei a restricted role in building parts of its 5G network, seeking a middle way in a bitter dispute between the United States and China over the next generation of communications technology.

"It would be for the Director of Public Prosecutions to make the decisions, not ministers".

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

An inquiry into the leak began after the Daily Telegraph reported on the council's confidential discussions - including warnings from several cabinet members about possible risks to national security over a deal with Huawei.

The inquiry led investigators to Williamson, who has served as Defence Secretary since 2017.

Asked whether Mr Williamson should face criminal action if found to be behind the leak, Mr McFadden said: "The law should be applied".

At a meeting with Mr Williamson on Wednesday evening, Theresa May told him she had information that suggested he was responsible for the unauthorised disclosure.

He said he hoped Williamson's political career would not be defined by the leak episode, saying the former defence secretary had shown an incredible commitment to the armed forces. He says he appreciated being offered a chance to resign but "to resign would have been to accept that I, my civil servants, my military advisers or my staff were responsible: this was not the case".

May appointed global development minister Penny Mordaunt to succeed Williamson as defense secretary, and named prisons minister Rory Stewart to Mordaunt's former role.

He has been told by the Prime Minister to go away but he hasn't shut up.

British media said Mordaunt is the first woman to take the role of defense secretary, while Rory Stewart, current Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice, will be the new worldwide development secretary.

The meeting last week was convened to discuss the results of a six-month review of Britain's telecom supply chain, including Huawei's role in the rollout of so-called 5G networks.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson requested a statement from Theresa May on the findings of the leak inquiry, but it was unclear whether the Prime Minister would respond in person or send another minister.

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