‘It was necessary’: PM defends sacking Gavin Williamson as defence secretary | Politics News
Theresa May has defended her decision to sack Gavin Williamson as defence secretary after an inquiry found “compelling evidence” that he leaked information from the National Security Council (NSC).
Details of a decision to green-light a bid by Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to help build Britain’s 5G network found their way into the media last month, and Mr Williamson was subsequently dismissed after a meeting with the prime minister.
He has since denied he was responsible for the information becoming public, but the prime minister told Sky News she has confidence the inquiry that led to him being fired was “properly conducted”.
Mrs May said: “The investigation was conducted properly and was about the fact that something was leaked from the NSC, and the importance of everybody around that table having trust when they come together in those meetings.
“The importance of this was not about the information that was leaked, it was where it was leaked from. This was about the NSC and trust in the NSC.”
Following calls for a police investigation into the leak, Mr Williamson told Sky News that he would get the “nicest apology” from the prime minister if one went ahead.
He said he was “massively comfortable” with the prospect, adding that he was “visibly shocked” when he was informed of the decision to sack him.
But Downing Street has said Mrs May considers the matter to be closed, and she told Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby that she was confident her decision was justified.
“This was an inquiry that was properly conducted, it was conducted in the way that one would expect an inquiry of this sort to be conducted,” she said.
“As a result, I took the decision that it was necessary for the then secretary of state for defence to leave his post.”
There has been no official confirmation from the government that it does plan to allow Huawei to play a key role in the development of 5G in the UK, amid concerns it could enable spying by the Chinese government.
Australia, New Zealand and the US are among the western nations to have barred the company from supplying vital elements of their infrastructure, and Canada could follow suit.
Following reports that the NSC had decided to allow Huawei to be involved in Britain, Downing Street said: “We don’t comment on NSC discussions.”