Steve Allen 4am - 7am
Cabinet Leak "Trivial" In Comparison To Huawei Involvement In UK Telecoms, Rees-Mogg Says
29 April 2019, 11:32 | Updated: 29 April 2019, 11:34
Jacob Rees-Mogg says it is right to have a public discussion about Chinese firm Huawei's involvement in UK telecommunications, adding that leaks from the National Security Council are "trivial".
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg tells Nick Ferrari that leaks from the National Security Council are "trivial" compared to the involvement of Huawei in British telecoms.
An inquiry is underway after reports of secret talks about Chinese firm Huawei appeared in the press last week.
The Conservative backbencher says it is right to have a public discussion about the company's possible involvement in the UK's telecommunications, but said the fact information was leaked from the National Security Council was "trivial" in comparison.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mr Rees-Mogg said that the issue should be about whether Huawei can be involved in the country's telecoms and not about the leak.
He said: "The whole story here is not about a leak, it's about whether or not we're getting into bed with the Chinese company Huawei against the advice of the US and Australians who have decided not to.
"This is a fundamental issue of national security, whether somebody mentioned it in passing and leaked it is trivial in comparison."
Mr Rees-Mogg also said he does not believe Cabinet Ministers should be required to hand over their mobile phones to help investigators get to the bottom of the leak.
"Making widespread investigations without evidence on specific figures seems to be wrong and cabinet ministers deserve similar protections to everybody else," he said.
Cabinet Ministers present at the council meeting, including Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Gavin Williamson, David Lidington, Liam Fox and Penny Mordaunt, as well as their aides, have been asked whether they know, are friends with or have contact details for the Daily Telegraph reporter who broke the story last week.
The inquiry, set up by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill is seeking to understand who spoke to journalist Steven Swinford on the day of the meeting.