Gavin Williamson Sacked As Defence Secretary After Huawei Leak

1 May 2019, 19:30

Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson
Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: Getty

Theresa May has sacked Gavin Williamson as her Defence Secretary following an investigation into a leak from a National Security Council meeting.

In a letter to Mr Williamson, the Prime Minister said that she had 'lost full confidence' in him as Defence Secretary after an investigation into unauthorised sharing of information from a National Security Council meeting last week, saying there was "compelling evidence" that he was responsible.

Details from the NSC meeting was leaked to a reporter, including information that Prime Minister Theresa May had given the 'green light' to Chinese firm Huawei having involvement in Britain's 5G network.

A statement from 10 Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of defence secretary and as a member of her cabinet.

"The Prime Minister’s decision has been informed by his conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council.

"The Prime Minister thanks all members of the National Security Council for their full cooperation and candour during the investigation and considers the matter closed."

- Theresa May's Letter To Gavin Williamson - Read In Full

- Huawei: Row Over Chinese Firm Involvement In UK Telecoms Explained

Penny Mordaunt named as Gavin Williamson's replacement
Penny Mordaunt named as Gavin Williamson's replacement. Picture: PA

Mr Williamson has denied being behind the leak, saying he does not believe the leak came from his department.

He said: "I am sorry that you feel recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my Department.

"I emphatically believe this was not the case.

"I strenuously deny that I was in any way involved in this leak and I am confident that a thorough and formal inquiry would have vindicated my position."

Penny Mordaunt has been named as Mr Williamson's replacement, and Prisons Minister Rory Stewart has been announced as the new International Development Secretary.

Mr Williamson was made Defence Secretary in 2017 after the resignation of Sir Michael Fallon.

He was previously Theresa May's Chief Whip.