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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

PM May sacks defence minister for key cabinet leak

Gavin Williamson was replaced in the post by women and equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, who becomes the first woman defence secretary in the country's history.

world Updated: May 02, 2019 00:57 IST
British Prime Minister Theresa May sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson following a probe into the leak of sensitive issues related to Chinese telecom major Huawei.
British Prime Minister Theresa May sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson following a probe into the leak of sensitive issues related to Chinese telecom major Huawei.(Bloomberg)
         

Britain’s embattled Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson following an investigation into the leak of sensitive issues related to Chinese telecom major Huawei and its potential role in building the UK’s 5G network.

May wrote to Williamson in a strongly-worded letter her conclusion following the investigation that provided “compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure” during last week’s meeting of the National Security Council.

She added: “It is therefore with great sadness that I have concluded that I can no longer have full confidence in you as Secretary of State for Defence and a minister in my Cabinet and ask you to leave (the) Government”.

Williamson, who previously denied leaking the information to the Daily Telegraph, was soon replaced in the post by women and equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, who becomes the first woman defence secretary in the country's history.

The disclosure that the May government was considering offering a role to the Chinese company in non-core sectors of the network prompted fury from Britain’s allies, including the United States, who went to the extent of threatening a halt to intelligence cooperation.

Cabinet ministers who attended the security council meeting went public with their denial that they leaked information, including Williamson. After being sacked, Williamson, however, continued to deny any role in the leak.

 

First Published: May 02, 2019 00:54 IST

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