Cabinet Secretary Issues Ultimatum To Ministers Over Huawei Leak

26 April 2019, 07:48 | Updated: 26 April 2019, 10:08

Information was leaked from the National Security Council, prompting calls for an investigation.
Information was leaked from the National Security Council, prompting calls for an investigation. Picture: PA

Britain's National Security Adviser has written to ministers and special advisers demanding they confirm or deny their involvement in leaking details of a meeting of the National Security Council.

It is understood Sir Mark Sedwill the National Security Adviser and Cabinet secretary to those who attended after the Daily Telegraph reported details of a meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.

Reportedly Sir Mark demanded that they confirm or deny whether they were involved and would be willing to cooperate with an inquiry, setting a deadline of 2pm Friday.

Several cabinet ministers have publicly denied they were involved.

Jeremy Hunt said the leaks were “utterly appalling,” adding that it was "a really, really bad thing for decision-making in government."

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson insisted s “Neither I nor any of my team have divulged information from the National Security Council,” he said.

Sajid Javid said it was "completely unacceptable" for any Government minister to "share sensitive information that cannot be out in the public domain."

But the chair of the Security Committee in the House of Commons, Dominic Grieve, says that might not lead to answers: "Leaking something by speaking to a journalist privately is going to be a very difficult to ascertain it happened, whoever did it."

Downing Street refused to say whether a leak inquiry was happening but insisted the Prime Minister regarded the protection of information concerning national security as a "matter of the highest importance".

Following a meeting of the National Security Council, the Daily Telegraph reported the top security group had agreed to allow Huawei limited access to help build Britain's new 5G network, amid warnings about possible risks to national security.

The paper also reported that various ministers had raised concerns about the plan.