UK Prime Minister fires Defense Minister over Huawei leak

Gavin Williamson has been sacked as Defence Secretary

Gavin Williamson was sacked from the government's top defense job Wednesday by Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she had seen "compelling evidence" that he was behind media reports that the government had agreed - against the advice of the United States - to let Huawei participate in some aspects of Britain's new 5G wireless communications network.

The investigation caused May to "lose confidence" in Williamson, and resulted in her asking him to leave the government, said 10 Downing Street in an official statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May axed Gavin Williamson despite his "strenuous" denial that he was responsible for the unprecedented leak of information from the National Security Council.

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.

The UK has not made a decision on Huawei's participation but a decision is expected by next year.

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

He once boasted that having "made" Mrs May "I can also break her".

It is understood the information leaked from the meeting was not judged by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to be of a classification level that would require a criminal investigation.

"This seems to have been a kangaroo court reaching a decision in secret which we have no evidence to base any decision on".

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said that Mr Williamson's case can not be closed while he stands accused of criminal behaviour of which he protests his innocence.

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The inquiry into the leak relates to Huawei's potential contribution to next-generation wireless networks in the UK.

It was for police, not ministers, to decide whether a criminal offense had been committed and the government did not intend to refer the matter to prosecutors, he said. "When I spoke to the PM, she said I could either resign or be sacked, I said I would not resign because I did not leak this information, so she sacked me".

Members of the National Security Council are bound by the Official Secrets Act and Labour has led calls for a police investigation to see if a breach has been committed.

During a meeting with Williamson this week, May told the defense secretary that she had "compelling evidence" he was the person who fed the information to the publication. Whether she resigns in the coming months, as she has indicated she would do, or is ousted more quickly, is a point of debate.

Williamson's newly appointed successor, Penny Mordaunt, is the U.K.'s first woman defense secretary.

However, there is no chance of a Sherlock Holmes stepping in to rescue the wronged man after a botched arrest by Inspector Lestrade because a Downing Street spokesman said that the Prime Minister "considers the matter to be closed".

In response to the sacking, Mr Williamson said: "I am sorry you feel recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my Department".

"No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified", she added.

Again, she is the third Defence Secretary since the election.

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