UK Defence Secretary fired after Huawei decision leak

Saturday, 04 May, 2019

A group of British MPs have sent a letter to London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding a criminal probe into the sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson's behaviour in connection with his alleged involvement in the Huawei leak, according to The Daily Mail.

Mr Williamson has been accused of revealing the contents of government discussions around allowing Chinese phone company Huawei to help build the UK's new 5G network, reported in the Daily Telegraph.

Senior ministers were quoted as saying that while there were "huge concerns" over "getting into bed" with Huawei, the leak was "extraordinary" and "simply not acceptable", given that "the security council is the holy of holies". The leaked information alleged that May agreed Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, should play an integral role in developing the UK's 5G network. In a later interview with Sky News, Williamson intimated that his firing was politically motivated.

Williamson on the other hand, is a key player in conservative circles, and apparently used to keep a tarantula on his desk as some kind of weird power move.

The abrupt sacking of Britain's top defense official - over allegations by the prime minister herself that Williamson had breached the secrecy protocols of the National Security Council - was stunning.

Mr Williamson, previously in charge of party discipline, was an important political ally for Mrs May as she struggled to steer Britain through Brexit, its biggest upheaval in decades, without a majority in Parliament and no clear consensus about the best way to leave the EU.

The NSC, consisting of the PM and her seniormost cabinet colleagues, invites top officials from the armed forces and intelligence agencies to its weekly meetings from time to time.

Various British politicians on Thursday issued calls for a police inquiry into the serious leak and dismissal, but the government said it would not be necessary, as the prime minister considers the matter "closed".

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said the government did not plan to refer the matter to police.

"I am therefore concerned by the manner in which you have engaged with this investigation", she said. May said an investigation had left no other credible explanation for the leak except that he was responsible. "But that is hypothetical because we have not had any referral from the Cabinet Office".

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.

The U.S. has made no bones about expressing its objections to Huawei taking up this role, telling the United Kingdom that such a move could jeopardise intelligence sharing between the two partners.

Huawei has denied the accusations that it could be used to spy, but revelations about USA companies and their abilities to harvest user data have increased suspicions about what the Chinese could do if they were operating the switches.