Gavin Williamson denies being source of Huawei leaking after sacking as Defence Secretary

Posted On: 
1st May 2019

Gavin Williamson has denied being the source of the Huawei leak after being sacked as Defence Secretary by Theresa May.

Gavin Williamson denies being the source of the Huawei leak.
PA Images

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said he "strenuously" denied being responsible for briefing the Daily Telegraph about her plans to give the Chinese telecommunications firm a role in the development of the UK's 5G network.

Suggesting he is the victim of a political hit, Mr Williamson said he was "confident that a thorough and formal inquiry" would have cleared his name.

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Mr Williamson also told Sky News that he swore on his children's lives that he was not the leaker.

The Prime Minister stunned Westminster by sacking Mr Williamson following a 30-minute meeting in Downing Street on Wednesday evening.

That followed a week-long probe by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill into how the Huawei decision was leaked to the Daily Telegraph following a meeting of the top-secret National Security Council.

Writing to her former colleague to confirm his sacking, Mrs May said: "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."

However, despite calls from Labour and the Lib Dems for Mr Williamson to face a police probe over claims he has broken the Official Secrets Act, Downing Sreet said the PM "considers the matter closed".

In his response to Mrs May, the South Staffordshire MP said it had been "a great privilege to serve as Defence Secretary and Chief Whip" under her.

But he added: "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.

"I have always trusted my civil servants, military advisers and staff. I believe the reassurances they have given me.

"I appreciate you offering me the option to resign, but to resign would have been to accept that I, my civil servants, my military advisers or my staff were responsible; this was not the case.

"Restoring public confidence in the NSC is an ambition we both share. With that in mind I hope that your decision achieves this aim rather than being seen as a temporary distraction."

A Downing Street spokesman said: "I cannot overstate how important it is that officials attending (NSC) meetings are able to give advice in full confidence it will not be leaked.

"This is ultimately a decision-making body which has considered some of the very biggest decisions that the Government has had to make in recent years.

"It's crucial that it's integruty is upheld and that has been the driving consideraration of the PM."