Theresa May and No10 will NOT report sacked Gavin Williamson to police

Theresa May's deputy David Lidington says No 10 has decided that they will not report Gavin Williamson to the police

Theresa May's deputy David Lidington says No 10 has decided that they will not report Gavin Williamson to the police

Theresa May’s deputy David Lidington says No 10 has decided that they will not report Gavin Williamson to the police

Theresa May will not report Gavin Williamson to the police despite sacking him over ‘compelling evidence’ he leaked top secret details about giving Huawei access to Britain’s 5G network, it was revealed today.

The Defence Secretary was ‘brutally’ fired last night after his 11-minute call to a journalist who wrote the story was uncovered by her civil service enforcer.

Sir Mark Sedwill pored over the Defence Secretary’s phone records and found he had spoken to Daily Telegraph reporter Steven Swinford on the day of National Security Council discussions about Huawei’s potential access to the UK’s 5G network.

Mrs May says he was responsible for the leak – but Mr Williamson claims he spoke to Swinford about the Tory leadership and Brexit, adding: ‘I swear on my children’s lives that I’m innocent.’

Today Mrs May’s deputy David Lidington told the Commons that the Government would help the police if they choose to investigate if he breached the Official Secrets Act – but No 10 will not call detectives in.

But in a new twist Met Commissioner Cressida Dick suggested they couldn’t probe the leak unless the Cabinet Office shares their investigation with them first.

In a damning statement on Mr Williamson’s alleged behaviour Mr Lidington said the breach was ‘serious’ but was not sure if he had broken the law, and also refused to release any of the evidence that led to his sacking.

And in a clear attack on Mr Williamson – who once urged Russia to ‘go away and shut up’ – Mr Lidington said members of the National Security Council should ‘shut up when they get outside’.

He said: ‘The Prime Minister has said she now considers that this matter has been closed. The Cabinet Secretary does not consider it necessary to refer it to the police. We would of course cooperate fully should the police themselves consider that an investigation were necessary’.

‘If there had been evidence to convince the Cabinet Secretary that a crime had been committed, he would have reported it to the Prime Minister and come to a different judgement about whether to refer it to the police’. 

Mr Lidington said his disgraced former cabinet colleague had lost the PM’s trust and others on the National Security Council (NSC), which decides on the most sensitive matters of war and peace.

He added: ‘The problem of this case is not so much the information, it was the forum from which it came. This boils down to the ministerial code. Ministers can only stay in office when they retain the confidence of the Prime Minister’.  

Mr Williamson said he had been ‘completely and utterly screwed’ and implied his sacking was down to Sir Mark settling a vendetta against him. He claimed that the Cabinet Office had leaked against him, including his own texts, as it emerged that he and Sir Mark had been at loggerheads in the past over powers in their departments.

Today MPs have written to the head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick demanding a criminal investigation into whether his actions breached the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson secured an urgent question in the Commons today and said: ‘Gavin Williamson says he is innocent and has the right to clear his name. A police investigation would do that’. 








Gavin Williamson told the Mail that he was not the source of the leak and that neither he nor his team would do such a thing but is yet to be seen in public

Gavin Williamson told the Mail that he was not the source of the leak and that neither he nor his team would do such a thing but is yet to be seen in public

Gavin's wife Joanne arrived at the family home in the Midlands today without him

Gavin's wife Joanne arrived at the family home in the Midlands today without him

Gavin Williamson told the Mail that he was not the source of the leak and that neither he nor his team would do such a thing but is yet to be seen in public – his wife Joanne arrived at the family home in the Midlands today without him

Prime Minister Theresa May, pictured in Downing Street today, said that there was 'compelling evidence' Williamson was behind the Huawei leak

Prime Minister Theresa May, pictured in Downing Street today, said that there was 'compelling evidence' Williamson was behind the Huawei leak

Prime Minister Theresa May, pictured in Downing Street today, said that there was ‘compelling evidence’ Williamson was behind the Huawei leak








Sir Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser in the Cabinet Office, was knighted last year by the Queen and has been accused of running a 'kangaroo court' by Mr Williamson

Sir Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser in the Cabinet Office, was knighted last year by the Queen and has been accused of running a 'kangaroo court' by Mr Williamson

Sir Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser in the Cabinet Office, was knighted last year by the Queen and has been accused of running a ‘kangaroo court’ by Mr Williamson

He added: ‘The Prime Minister says she has evidence. We need to see some of it. 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.’

How Gavin Williamson was interviewed about the Huawei leak on a family holiday as the net closed in

Gavin Williamson was on an Easter break with his family when the finger was first pointed at him, it was claimed today.

Sir Mark Sedwill sent a member of cabinet staff to Scotland to interview the now-sacked Defence Secretary, who said the following day: ‘Neither I nor any of my team have divulged information from the National Security Council’.

Minister after minister then spoke out publicly to deny that they were behind the leak. 

The cabinet were ordered to hand over their phones in the hunt for the Cabinet mole in the hope of uncovering who leaked controversial discussions about Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network.

It later emerged that Gavin Williamson has spoken at length to the journalist who wrote the Huawei but categorically denied he spilled the beans. 

Sir Mark clearly disagreed and appears to have told Mrs May that Mr Williamson was the culprit, and also said had failed to cooperate fully with leak inquiry in the same way his colleagues did.

Theresa May decided he did not have confidence in her Defence Secretary and fired him yesterday. 

Mr Williamson, Theresa May’s former chief whip who ran also her leadership campaign, was sacked after an investigation revealed he was the source of information released from a top secret National Security Council meeting last week and subsequently published in a newspaper. 

The leak of the Prime Minister’s controversial decision about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s involvement in the development of the UK’s 5G mobile network – made at a top-secret meeting of the NSC last week and leaked to the Daily Telegraph – also sparked a massive political row with the US threatening to withhold intelligence if the Chinese firm was brought in.   

But in an interview with the Daily Mail, the 42-year-old was adamant that Mrs May had fired the wrong person and chastised her for having targeted him – despite his having had her back in the past. 

Recalling his sacking, he said: ‘We sat down and she offered me the opportunity to resign and I said, ‘I can’t resign PM, because I haven’t leaked it and I would rather you sacked me than me to accept something I or my team have not done’.’ 

Making no attempt to hide his fury, he said: ‘I pointed out that I had saved her a couple of times, kept her as PM,’ adding that it was ‘a shame she didn’t recognise the fact’. 

After the first cabinet sacking for a leak in decades, it has emerged:

  • Theresa May says there is ‘compelling evidence’ that Gavin Williamson leaked details of confidential details of whether to allow Huawei to help build Britain’s 5G network; 
  • Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill checked his phone records, emails and interviewed him before pointing the finger;
  • Sacked minister spoke to a reporter for 11 minutes on the day of the leak and was accused of not engaging with cabinet investigation ‘to the same standard as others’
  • Williamson suggests Sir Mark was pursuing a vendetta, had leaked against him and then rigged the investigation. He said he was fired by ‘kangaroo court’ and is innocent, ‘swearing on his children’s lives’. 

The PM’s officials have not revealed what evidence they found to implicate Mr Williamson, who had been an outside contender to replace Theresa May as Tory leader when she steps down. 

But his sacking leaves his political career in tatters and raises the question of whether he will face police action into his conduct in leaking details from a top secret meeting.  

He has now been replaced by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt – a Royal Navy reservist – who becomes the first ever female Defence Secretary. Rory Stewart steps up from Prisons Minister to take her former role. 

Resigned to his fate, Mr Williamson noted how resilient Mrs May was to his pleas, telling her: ‘I have never leaked anything from the National Security Council, nor would I. I absolutely promise, hand on heart, I did not leak this.

‘I realise my obituary will say I did, but I swear on my children’s lives I did not.’ 

He pointed the finger at Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill claiming an investigation into the leak was rigged. Mr Williamson claimed Sir Mark ‘leaked information’ about him concerning a text message he had sent.    

The Prime Minister sacked Gavin Williamson, setting out her reasons to the former minister in a letter being branded the 'most brutal' in cabinet history

The Prime Minister sacked Gavin Williamson, setting out her reasons to the former minister in a letter being branded the 'most brutal' in cabinet history

The Prime Minister sacked Gavin Williamson, setting out her reasons to the former minister in a letter being branded the ‘most brutal’ in cabinet history

Ex-Army chief General Lord Dannatt defended Gavin Williamson’s performance as defence secretary.

The phonecall to reporter that damned Gavin Williamson in PM’s eyes

Gavin Williamson has admitted to an 11-minute telephone conversation with a journalist on the day information from the National Security Council was leaked, it has been reported.   

It is one of the first indications as to why the former defence secretary may have been sacked by Theresa May yesterday. He is alleged to have revealed secret NSC discussions about Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s involvement in the development of the UK’s 5G mobile network.    

Officials have not revealed what they found to implicate Mr Williamson, but in a letter to the South Staffordshire MP the Prime Minister Theresa May claimed ‘compelling evidence’ suggested he was responsible.  

Sources close to Williamson last night revealed he had admitted to having a telephone conversation with Daily Telegraph Deputy Political Editor Steven Swinford after the National Security Council meeting last week, as reported by The Sun

It was Mr Swinford who just hours later broke the news that Mrs May had reportedly given the green light to Huawei the help build Britain’s 5G network, a move which sparked a massive political row.   

But Mr Williamson has insisted they talked about Brexit and the upcoming euro elections, according to reports, and not the recent NSC meeting, at which it is alleged discussions were had on allowing Huawei to work on the 5G network.

The 42-year-old has insisted he is innocent, and recounted to the Daily Mail what he told Mrs May: ‘I have never leaked anything from the National Security Council, nor would I.

‘I absolutely promise, hand on heart, I did not leak this. I realise my obituary will say I did, but I swear on my children’s lives I did not.’ 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: ‘This is a personal tragedy for Gavin Williamson; it’s also something of a tragedy, certainly very upsetting, for defence at the present moment.

‘It’s a very difficult brief, people take quite some time to learn it, and he has got to grips with it pretty well over the last 18 months.

‘He got £1.8 billion extra in the Budget last year and was continuing to argue the case for more resources in the Spending Review and he was fighting his corner.

‘Yes, he made some mistakes, he made some gaffes, and said some things that he probably regretted, but on the whole he was doing a good job.’

Lord Dannatt said he spoke to Mr Williamson on the phone on Wednesday night following his sacking.

He said: ‘Last night he was very much protesting his innocence…

‘He has been trying very hard to argue the toss for the Ministry of Defence, for the armed forces, with the Treasury to get more resources.

‘He has to protest his innocence over this, otherwise he is laying himself open to potentially criminal prosecution.’

The chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, Dominic Grieve, told Sky News: ‘If people leak the content of such a meeting – even if it is just about a policy disagreement, not some specific secret item – it ruthlessly undermines the ability of the National Security Council to do its work.

‘And it is totally unfair on colleagues, and indeed unfair on anybody who attends.

‘I have noted that Gavin Williamson denies this, but the fact that there has been a leak has precipitated this crisis, so from wherever it came or may have come, it shows just how corrosive and undesirable it is.’

Asked if Mr Williamson should face a criminal investigation, Mr Grieve said: ‘If you are going to leak material from a National Security Council meeting which includes classified material, potentially you do break the law.

‘But in this country, investigation of criminal offences is done independently by the police and Crown Prosecution Service. It’s not a matter directly for the Government, although it could be referred to the police.’

It is the latest in the strong of controversies the Scarborough born MP has faced. One of the first was that of an affair. Just months into his position as Defence Secretary, in January 2018 it was revealed by The Daily Mail that he had been engaged in an office romance with a former colleague.

He insisted the relationship had not gone beyond kissing ‘a couple of times’ and that she had forgiven him for the antics which took place in 2014.  The couple have two daughters and he has stressed that his family is central to his life.

‘My family means everything to me and I almost threw it away… This incident nearly destroyed two marriages,’ he said at the time. 








Mr Williamson later sent his own letter continuing to protest his innocence and revealing he refused to resign, saying it would have implied guilt

Mr Williamson later sent his own letter continuing to protest his innocence and revealing he refused to resign, saying it would have implied guilt

Mr Williamson later sent his own letter continuing to protest his innocence and revealing he refused to resign, saying it would have implied guilt








Mr Williamson’s critics want the police called in. 

Asked about the possibility of a prosecution, Theresa May’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: ‘It is not for the Government to determine prosecutions, but the Prime Minister has said, from her point of view, that she considers the matter to be closed.’  

Scotland Yard said in a statement: ‘We’re aware of the media reports in relation to the leak and that is a matter for the National Security Council and the Cabinet Office to look at.

‘At this time, we’re not carrying out an investigation. Clearly if at any stage we receive any information that would suggest criminal offences have been committed, then we will look into that.’   

Mrs May met Mr Williamson in her Commons office for half an hour after receiving a briefing on the leak inquiry in the early afternoon. 

Huawei may have been a leak too far for gaff-prone minister nicknamed ‘Private Pike’

Williamson was nicknamed Private Pike after the youthful innocent Dad's Army character played by Ian Lavender (pictured above on a stamp issues last year to mark the sit-com's 50th anniversary)

Williamson was nicknamed Private Pike after the youthful innocent Dad's Army character played by Ian Lavender (pictured above on a stamp issues last year to mark the sit-com's 50th anniversary)

Williamson was nicknamed Private Pike after the youthful innocent Dad’s Army character played by Ian Lavender (pictured above on a stamp issues last year to mark the sit-com’s 50th anniversary)

Gavin Williamson was promoted from the relative obscurity of the Tory whips team to take on one of the most senior political jobs in the country.

But his inexperience and proneness to gaffs saw the relatively youthful newcomer quickly labelled Private Pike – after the hapless teenage Dad’s Army character.

As a whip, he was best known in Westminster for keeping a pet tarantula named Cronus in a glass box on his desk, which is said to have provided added menace when dealing with errant MPs in his role as Mrs May’s enforcer.

As Defence Secretary, the 42-year-old MP for South Staffordshire – Theresa May’s campaign manager in her successful 2016 leadership bid – quickly became known for a tendency to put his foot in his mouth.

At the height of the furore over the Salisbury novichok attack in March 2018, Mr Williamson urged Russia to ‘go away and shut up’ – prompting derision from critics.

In December the previous year, he was accused of pursuing a policy that ‘belongs in a Netflix series’ after saying Islamist fighters should be hunted down and killed.

More recently, and perhaps more seriously, he was at the centre of a cabinet row in February as government sources blamed him for offending the Chinese and causing the cancellation of a crucial trade visit to Beijing by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

On that occasion, the then Defence Secretary had made a speech days before the mission in which he talked about sending a Royal Navy warship to the sensitive waters of the Indo Pacific, words that did not go down well in Beijing.

Some Westminster commentators speculated that some of the remarks that caused controversy were deliberately designed to boost his profile and his popular appeal with a view to boosting his chances of succeeding Mrs May as Tory leader.

He was also suspected being behind some of the anonymous briefings about Brexit developments with Cabinet, which were again seen as part of the jockeying for position in the Tory leadership race.

Although he has strenuously denied any involvement, Mr Williamson’s ambitions may have been holed below the waterline with his unceremonious sacking over the Huawei leak.

Mr Williamson revealed that he had turned down an offer from the PM for him to resign rather than be sacked.

He said that this would have implied that he accepted that either he or his team were responsible for the leak.  

The Staffordshire South MP also hit back with a letter to the PM in which he cast doubt on the investigation conducted by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.

‘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,’ he wrote.

Speaking to ITV outside Downing Street new Cabinet minister Mr Stewart said: ‘Although I wasn’t privy to the internal investigation I have enormous confidence the national security adviser and the Prime Minister have followed the correct process and know what they are doing.’

The sacking of Gavin Williamson makes him the 38th person to have left the Government in just over 12 months, and the sixth Cabinet minister. 

Announcing the sacking a Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the Government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of Defence Secretary and as a member of her Cabinet. 

‘The Prime Minister’s decision has been informed by his conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council. 

‘The Prime Minister thanks all members of the National Security Council for their full cooperation and candour during the investigation and considers the matter closed.’  

Informing Mr Williamson of his dismissal, Mrs May said she was ‘concerned’ at the manner in which he had engaged with the inquiry.

‘It has been conducted fairly, with the full co-operation of other NSC attendees,’ she wrote.

‘They have all answered questions, engaged properly, provided as much information as possible to assist with the investigation, and encouraged their staff to do the same. Your conduct has not been of the same standard as others’.

‘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 leak claimed Theresa May had given the green light to the involvement of Huawei in ‘non core’ elements of the UK network. 

Such a move risks the UK risks being cut out of the loop by American spies if it uses Huawei technology for its 5G mobile network, a senior US official later warned. 

Robert Strayer, the deputy assistant secretary for cyber security at the State Department, said any involvement of the Chinese tech giant poses an ‘unacceptable risk’. 

Describing the seriousness of the problem for the US Mr Strayer said: ‘What we really have here is a loaded gun’.

And Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Britain should be wary about embracing Chinese firms because they are legally obliged to help their country’s spies.

Williamson, the MP for South Staffordshire had been a vital part of Theresa May’s inner circle after being appointed as her chief whip when she took office in July 2016.

As a whip, he was best known in Westminster for keeping a pet tarantula named Cronus in a glass box on his desk, which is said to have provided added menace when dealing with errant MPs in his role as Mrs May’s enforcer.

As Defence Secretary, he quickly became known for a tendency to put his foot in his mouth.

Mr Williamson got his big break as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to David Cameron from 2013-16 and was selected by Mrs May as her parliamentary campaign manager for the contest for the Conservative leadership triggered by Mr Cameron’s resignation following the Brexit referendum.

Elected to Parliament in 2010, Mr Williamson was swiftly appointed a PPS in the Northern Ireland Office in 2011 and then held a succession of ‘bag-carrier’ posts, acting as the eyes and ears in the House of Commons for ministers Hugo Swire, Owen Paterson and Patrick McLoughlin, before entering Number 10 as a member of Mr Cameron’s team.

Although unpaid, the role of PPS is seen as a useful staging post for a backbencher seeking ministerial office, but rarely have holders of the position been elevated quite as swiftly as Mr Williamson.

As he rose rapidly through the ranks, he was regarded as a right-hand man of Prime Minister May who remained by her side as other key allies fell by the wayside in the wake of her disastrous snap election.

As chief whip, he was prohibited from speaking in Parliament. The defence job gave him a much higher profile, but things did not go well.  

Newly-appointed Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt leaves her London home today to start her new job

Newly-appointed Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt leaves her London home today to start her new job

Newly-appointed Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt leaves her London home today to start her new job

Who is on the National Security Council? 

A government document published earlier this month states that the National Security Council consists of:

  • The Prime Minister Theresa May 
  • Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington 
  • The Chancellor Philip Hammond 
  • Home Secretary Sajid Javid 
  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt 
  • Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson 
  • Business Secretary Greg Clark 
  • International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt 
  • Attorney General Geoffrey Cox
  • The council is chaired by the National Security Adviser, Mark Sedwill.  

Other Cabinet ministers attend as required, as to the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, and heads of Intelligence Agencies MI5 and MI6 also attend when required.

At the height of the furore over the Salisbury novichok attack in March 2018, Mr Williamson urged Russia to ‘go away and shut up’ – prompting derision from critics.

In December the previous year, he was accused of pursuing a policy that ‘belongs in a Netflix series’ after saying Islamist fighters should be hunted down and killed.

More recently, and perhaps more seriously, he was at the centre of a cabinet row in February as government sources blamed him for offending the Chinese and causing the cancellation of a crucial trade visit to Beijing by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

On that occasion, the then Defence Secretary had made a speech days before the mission in which he talked about sending a Royal Navy warship to the sensitive waters of the Indo Pacific, words that did not go down well in Beijing.       

Some Westminster commentators speculated that some of the remarks that caused controversy were deliberately designed to boost his profile and his popular appeal with a view to boosting his chances of succeeding Mrs May as Tory leader.

He was also suspected of being behind some of the anonymous briefings about Brexit developments with Cabinet, which were again seen as part of the jockeying for position in the Tory leadership race.

Mr Williamson was not at his Staffordshire home today and his wife Joanne refused to comment on her husband's sacking

Mr Williamson was not at his Staffordshire home today and his wife Joanne refused to comment on her husband's sacking

Mr Williamson was not at his Staffordshire home today and his wife Joanne refused to comment on her husband’s sacking

Timeline of fallout from Huawei leak revelations 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s sacking by the Prime Minister follows days of political drama surrounding the leak of information from the UK’s National Security Council.

Here is how the leak developed into a major Government inquiry:

– April 23 – A meeting of the UK’s National Security Council (NSC), the country’s top national security body, is held.

– April 24 – The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that the Prime Minister has agreed to allow Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to help build Britain’s new 5G network despite security concerns raised by Cabinet minsters at the meeting. Labour demands an official investigation into the leak from the highly secretive council.

– April 25 – Dominic Grieve, chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, says the leak is ‘deeply worrying’. Home Secretary Sajid Javid says it is ‘completely unacceptable’ for any minister to release sensitive information and that it should ‘absolutely be looked at’. Gavin Williamson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly deny they are responsible. In a statement, Mr Williamson says neither he nor any of his team had ‘divulged information from the National Security Council’.

– April 26 – An ultimatum is reportedly issued to ministers over the leak of the secret discussions. Reports emerge that Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill has demanded ministers in attendance at the NSC meeting confess or deny if they were behind the leak. Downing Street refuses to say whether an inquiry is under way, despite calls for police to become involved. Sources close to International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt also deny they were involved.

– April 27 – It is reported that members of the Cabinet are expected to be summoned for interviews as part of a formal inquiry headed by Sir Mark Sedwill. Ministers and aides are reportedly issued questionnaires requiring them to explain where they were in the hours following the NSC meeting. China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, defends the tech giant Huawei and urges the Government to act independently and resist external pressure.

– April 28 – Jeremy Hunt says he has been questioned by officials as part of a leak probe and is prepared to hand over his phone. He says the UK should exercise ‘a degree of caution’ about the role of large Chinese firms such as Huawei.

– April 29 – The US delivers a warning that there is no safe level of involvement by Chinese tech giant Huawei in the 5G networks of Western powers.

– May 1 – Gavin Williamson is sacked as Defence Secretary following an inquiry into the leak of information. Downing Street said Theresa May asked Mr Williamson to leave the Government having ‘lost confidence in his ability to serve’.

Although he has strenuously denied any involvement, Mr Williamson’s ambitions may have been holed below the waterline with his unceremonious sacking over the Huawei leak.

Some of the UK’s closest allies have blocked Huawei from work on their own networks because of security concerns, some of which were reportedly raised by Cabinet ministers present at the NSC meeting about the firm’s involvement.

Yesterday Vodafone confirmed it found hidden vulnerabilities in network equipment supplied by Huawei a decade ago as the Chinese firm continues to protect its reputation. 

The UK telecoms firm is said to have discovered the flaws between 2009 and 2012 in internet routers and other equipment used by its Italian business, according to Bloomberg.

The ‘hidden back doors’ could have allowed Huawei to access users’ home internet networks, the report claimed.   

The NSC leaks to the Daily Telegraph triggered a Whitehall inquiry spearheaded by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to root out the culprit. 

Ministers and aides were reportedly issued questionnaires requiring them to explain where they were in the hours following Tuesday’s NSC meeting.      

The spotlight was on the five ministers who were said to have voiced objections to the Huawei decision – Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

MPs were quick to link the leak to the manoeuvrings around the Tory leadership, with whoever was responsible hoping to burnish their credentials for being tough on China.

All five, however, have either publicly denied being the guilty party or let it be known through aides that they were not responsible.

Also present at the meeting were David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister and Mrs May’s de facto deputy, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright.

Much of the anger around the leak from the NSC – where ministers are briefed by the heads of the intelligence agencies, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – reflects concern among MPs and officials that it could damage intelligence-sharing with key partners such as the US.

Some MPs have called for the matter to be referred to the police or for MI5 investigators to be brought in, amid concerns that conventional Whitehall leak inquiries have a poor track record of finding the culprit.  

Could Williamson now be JAILED? Calls for a police investigation into former Defence Secretary after Theresa May sacks him over national security leak  

Gavin Williamson (pictured) has been sacked over the leaks

Gavin Williamson (pictured) has been sacked over the leaks

Gavin Williamson (pictured) has been sacked over the leaks 

Calls for ex-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to be jailed have followed his sacking over leaking.

Theresa May fired him from her cabinet over a leak of information about Chinese mobile phone giant Huawei, which the government had green-lighted to build the UK’s 5G network despite experts’ security concerns. 

Yesterday’s dismissal for ‘the unauthorised disclosure’ of National Security Council information led to demands for a criminal investigation will follow.

Labour Party 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.’  

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable demanded a probe into a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

‘This story cannot begin and end with dismissal from office,’ he said. 

‘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.’

Journalist Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: ‘BREAKING: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sensationally sacked after being identified as Huawei leaker. Might he go to jail too? Very serious offence to disclose info from National Security Council.’ 

Mrs May made the announcement this afternoon following a high-profile probe into revelations released from a top secret meeting.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the Government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of Defence Secretary and as a member of her Cabinet.

‘The Prime Minister’s decision has been informed by his conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council. 

‘The Prime Minister thanks all members of the National Security Council for their full cooperation and candour during the investigation and considers the matter closed.’

Breaches of the Official Secrets Act carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison.  

The leak concerned a top-secret meeting about the decision to approve a contract for Huawei last week, when details were given to the Daily Telegraph.

It claimed Theresa May had given the green light to the involvement of Huawei in ‘non core’ elements of the UK network. 

An affair, tractors armed with guns and paintballing Spanish ships: How Gavin Williamson’s short tenure as Defence Secretary has been mired in controversy  

Gavin Williamson was defence secretary for less than two years, but his tenure has been dogged by controversies including revelations of an affair shortly after his appointment. 

The gaffe-prone 42-year-old took up the post in November 2, 2017 having served as the MP for South Staffordshire since the 2010 election. He was given the position following the resignation of Sir Michael Fallon over sexual harassment claims.

During his time in the post he earned a less-than-desirable reputation, regularly inviting the Captain Mainwaring response of ‘Stupid Boy!’. Having suggested ideas for defence including arming tractors with guns and paintballing Spanish ships. 

Despite this he had been an outside contender to replace Theresa May as Tory leader when she eventually steps down. When he landed the defence job, he achieved the highly unusual distinction of being promoted directly into the Cabinet without having held a more junior ministerial job.

Gavin Williamson is seen in his first public appearance since being appointed as defence secretary in November, 2017. He is conducting the band of the Grenadier Guards at Waterloo Station in London

Gavin Williamson is seen in his first public appearance since being appointed as defence secretary in November, 2017. He is conducting the band of the Grenadier Guards at Waterloo Station in London

Gavin Williamson is seen in his first public appearance since being appointed as defence secretary in November, 2017. He is conducting the band of the Grenadier Guards at Waterloo Station in London

Williamson (pictured) earned a less-than-desirable reputation during his time in the role, regularly inviting the Captain Mainwaring response of 'Stupid Boy!'

Williamson (pictured) earned a less-than-desirable reputation during his time in the role, regularly inviting the Captain Mainwaring response of 'Stupid Boy!'

Williamson (pictured) earned a less-than-desirable reputation during his time in the role, regularly inviting the Captain Mainwaring response of ‘Stupid Boy!’

Williamson (pictured during his time as an MP for South Staffordshire) even suggested during his tenure as defence secretary that tractors be armed with guns

Williamson (pictured during his time as an MP for South Staffordshire) even suggested during his tenure as defence secretary that tractors be armed with guns

Williamson (pictured during his time as an MP for South Staffordshire) even suggested during his tenure as defence secretary that tractors be armed with guns

He got his big break as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to David Cameron from 2013-16 and was selected by Mrs May as her parliamentary campaign manager for the contest for the Conservative leadership triggered by Mr Cameron’s resignation following the Brexit referendum.   

As he rose rapidly through the ranks, he was regarded as a right-hand man of Prime Minister May who remained by her side as other key allies fell by the wayside in the wake of her disastrous snap election.

Gavin Williamson is pictured with his wife Joanne Williamson. After revelations of an affair in January 2018, he stressed that his family is central to his life

Gavin Williamson is pictured with his wife Joanne Williamson. After revelations of an affair in January 2018, he stressed that his family is central to his life

Gavin Williamson is pictured with his wife Joanne Williamson. After revelations of an affair in January 2018, he stressed that his family is central to his life

But now his short stint in the role has come to a shocking end, after it was alleged that he was behind a highly controversial security leak about Chinese mobile phone giant Huawei last week. 

The sacking leaves his political career in tatters and raises the question of whether he will face police action into his conduct in leaking details from a top secret meeting.      

In March 2018, he faced another controversy. Soon after the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Williamson was lambasted for saying: ‘Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up.’ 

The remarks were widely ridiculed in both Russia and the UK, and he was later criticised for his use of informal language when dealing with sensitive topics.

It was an issue brought up by Richard Madeley on Good Morning Britain, but Williamson stonewalled the presenter so much he was cut off. Madeley told him: ‘Right, you’re not going to answer, are you? OK. All right, interview terminated because you won’t answer the question.’     

In July 2018, Williamson became the first minister to be heckled by his own phone at the dispatch box in the House of Commons. 

The Cabinet minister was making a statement on operations against ISIS in Syria when his voice triggered Siri on his mobile.

As Mr Williamson spoke, a disembodied voice could clearly be heard saying: ‘I’ve found something on the web about Syria. Syrian democratic forces supported by….’  

Belatedly realising what was happening, Mr Williamson groped for the phone in his pocket to turn it off.

‘It is very rare that you are heckled by your own mobile phone,’ he joked nervously. 

Soon after the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Williamson was lambasted for saying: 'Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up'

Soon after the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Williamson was lambasted for saying: 'Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up'

Soon after the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Williamson was lambasted for saying: ‘Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up’

In July 2018, Williamson became the first minister to be heckled by his own phone at the dispatch box in the House of Commons (pictured)

In July 2018, Williamson became the first minister to be heckled by his own phone at the dispatch box in the House of Commons (pictured)

In July 2018, Williamson became the first minister to be heckled by his own phone at the dispatch box in the House of Commons (pictured)








Williamson has his own Instagram account, in which he posted images from both his role as Defence Secretary and from his private time

Williamson has his own Instagram account, in which he posted images from both his role as Defence Secretary and from his private time

Williamson has his own Instagram account, in which he posted images from both his role as Defence Secretary and from his private time

Williamson has encountered problems on social media. In the same month he was appointed defence secretary, he accidentally revealed his classic Landrover - which he has proudly boasted about on Instagram - was untaxed

Williamson has encountered problems on social media. In the same month he was appointed defence secretary, he accidentally revealed his classic Landrover - which he has proudly boasted about on Instagram - was untaxed

Williamson has encountered problems on social media. In the same month he was appointed defence secretary, he accidentally revealed his classic Landrover – which he has proudly boasted about on Instagram – was untaxed

It was certainly not that only time Williamson has encountered issues with his mobile phone in the House of Commons. He was chastised for flouting a ban on photography inside the chamber. 

In September last year he posted images taken from inside the chamber on social media. They showed Theresa May statement about Brexit.

It was a move which later led to him being rebuked by parliamentary authorities. 

Elsewhere on social media, Williamson has also encountered problems. In the same month he was appointed defence secretary, he accidentally revealed his classic Land Rover – which he has proudly boasted about on Instagram – was untaxed.  

Williamson was chastised for flouting a ban on photography inside the House of Commons last year. In September he posted images taken from inside the chamber on social media. They showed Theresa May statement about Brexit

Williamson was chastised for flouting a ban on photography inside the House of Commons last year. In September he posted images taken from inside the chamber on social media. They showed Theresa May statement about Brexit

Williamson was chastised for flouting a ban on photography inside the House of Commons last year. In September he posted images taken from inside the chamber on social media. They showed Theresa May statement about Brexit

Claiming the vehicle had a ‘go anywhere do anything attitude’, DVLA records revealed that road tax on the classic 1981 vehicle ran out at the end of October, 2017 and had not yet been renewed.

He later also wrote that the vehicle ‘epitomises everything that is so great about Great Britain’, having forgotten Land Rover has actually owned by India’s Tata Motors for years. 

During his tenure, Williamson is also reported to have made a number of eccentric suggestions about how to use the defence budget effectively. The Sun revealed in August last year that he had proposed a series of ‘bizarre’ and outlandish ideas to bolster the UK’s military.

These included fitting guns to tractors and disguising defence systems as Coca-Cola lorries, the newspaper claimed. 

The proposals sparked anger within the ranks of the military, who feared his strange demands could hamper chances of securing additional funds from the Treasury. 

Much to the surprise of his staff, Williamson proposed another intriguing idea in January of this year suggesting paintballs be fired at Spanish ships to stop them trespassing in Gibraltar’s waters. 

He made the suggestion off the back of a huge upsurge in Spanish vessels entering British waters off the Rock.

He even wanted to send a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer to the Spanish territory of Ceuta on the Moroccan coast to deal with the growing Spanish threat. 

In the same month he risked flushing his reputation down the pan in his battle with the Kremlin after visitors spotted a roll of lavatory paper adorned with Mr Putin’s face in his MoD office.

Mr Williamson, a former Chief Whip, caused consternation in Westminster even before his appointment as Defence Secretary. 

He used to keep a tarantula called Cronus in his whip’s office – but it was barred from moving to the MoD because a member of his staff has arachnophobia.   

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson performs the cutting of the sod during a visit to RAF Lossiemouth where he launched construction of a new home for maritime patrol aircraft and boarded a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson performs the cutting of the sod during a visit to RAF Lossiemouth where he launched construction of a new home for maritime patrol aircraft and boarded a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson performs the cutting of the sod during a visit to RAF Lossiemouth where he launched construction of a new home for maritime patrol aircraft and boarded a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft

Williamson risked flushing his reputation down the pan in his battle with the Kremlin after visitors spotted a roll of lavatory paper adorned with Mr Putin’s face in his MoD office (stock image)

Williamson risked flushing his reputation down the pan in his battle with the Kremlin after visitors spotted a roll of lavatory paper adorned with Mr Putin’s face in his MoD office (stock image)

Williamson risked flushing his reputation down the pan in his battle with the Kremlin after visitors spotted a roll of lavatory paper adorned with Mr Putin’s face in his MoD office (stock image)

Prior to his appointment as Defence Secretary, Williamson served as an MP for South Staffordshire. He got his big break as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to David Cameron from 2013-16

Prior to his appointment as Defence Secretary, Williamson served as an MP for South Staffordshire. He got his big break as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to David Cameron from 2013-16

Williamson was selected by Mrs May as her parliamentary campaign manager for the contest for the Conservative leadership triggered by Mr Cameron's resignation following the Brexit referendum

Williamson was selected by Mrs May as her parliamentary campaign manager for the contest for the Conservative leadership triggered by Mr Cameron's resignation following the Brexit referendum

Prior to his appointment as Defence Secretary, Williamson served as an MP for South Staffordshire. He got his big break as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to David Cameron from 2013-16

Williamson's sacking leaves his political career in tatters and raises the question of whether he will face police action into his conduct in leaking details from a top secret meeting (he is pictured before being appointed to the role of defence secretary)

Williamson's sacking leaves his political career in tatters and raises the question of whether he will face police action into his conduct in leaking details from a top secret meeting (he is pictured before being appointed to the role of defence secretary)

Williamson’s sacking leaves his political career in tatters and raises the question of whether he will face police action into his conduct in leaking details from a top secret meeting (he is pictured before being appointed to the role of defence secretary)

More recently, and perhaps more seriously, he was at the centre of a cabinet row in February as government sources blamed him for offending the Chinese and causing the cancellation of a crucial trade visit to Beijing by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

On that occasion, the then Defence Secretary had made a speech days before the mission in which he talked about sending a Royal Navy warship to the sensitive waters of the Indo Pacific, words that did not go down well in Beijing.

Some Westminster commentators speculated that some of the remarks that caused controversy were deliberately designed to boost his profile and his popular appeal with a view to boosting his chances of succeeding Mrs May as Tory leader. 

But now his stint as Defence Secretary has come to a close after it was alleged that he was behind a highly controversial security leak about Chinese mobile phone giant Huawei last week.

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