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Sun, 12 July 2020

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By Andrew McQuillan
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Police urged to launch criminal probe after Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak

Police urged to launch criminal probe after Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak
3 min read

Gavin Williamson should face a criminal probe after he was sacked over the Huawei leak, according to senior politicians.


The former Defence Secretary lost his job after being accused of passing on top-secret information about plans to give the Chinese firm a role in the development of the UK's 5G network.

Theresa May asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to launch an investigation after her plans, which she revealed at a meeting of the National Security Council, were reported in the Daily Telegraph.

In a hard-hitting letter to Mr Williamson following his sacking on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said: "In our meeting this evening, I put to you the latest information from the investigation, which provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure. No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified."

The South Staffordshire MP - who has been replaced as Defence Secretary by Penny Mordaunt - strenuously denies being the source of the leak, claiming he is the victim of a "kangaroo court" and a political stitch-up.

In his letter to Mrs May, 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."

Downing Street has insisted Mrs May believes the matter to be "closed" and therefore does not require a full police investigation.

But opposition parties have called for a criminal probe, amid claims that Mr Williamson may have broken the Official Secrets Act.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted: "If he has leaked from the National Security Council, Gavin Williamson should be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. And he should forgo his ministerial severance pay."

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said: "This story cannot begin and end with dismissal from office.

"What is at stake is the capacity of our security services to give advice at the highest level.

"This must now be referred to the Metropolitan Police for a thorough criminal investigation into breaches of the Official Secrets Act."

Stewart McDonald, the SNP's defence spokesman, said: "It is completely unacceptable that the Tories are putting the interests and national security of Scotland and the UK at risk in an increasingly dirty and shameful leadership battle.

"The UK government must clarify if they believe that Mr Williamson has broken the law, and if so, the matter must be passed to the police for a full criminal investigation."

Mike Gapes MP, defence spokesman for Change UK, said: "This is an extraordinary development following an unprecedented leak from the National Security Council and I would now expect a criminal investigation to follow.

"This is yet another sign of a dysfunctional chaotic Conservative government."

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