Theresa May loses another minister as Gavin Williamson is SACKED over security council leaks
- Credit: PA
Theresa May has sacked Gavin Williamson as defence secretary, following an investigation into the leak of information from a National Security Council meeting, Downing Street has announced.
The inquiry by cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill was launched after information from secret discussions about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei's involvement in the development of the UK's 5G mobile network was printed in the Daily Telegraph.
Williamson was listed in the Telegraph as being among a small group of ministers whose warnings about Huawei's involvement were overruled by the prime minister.
He becomes the 42nd minister that Theresa May has lost since the last general election.
In a statement, 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.
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'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.'
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In his letter to Theresa May, Williamson responded: 'I am sorry that you feel recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my department. I emphatically believe that 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.'
Williamson added that he had turned down an offer from the PM for him to resign rather than be sacked, as this would have implied that he accepted that either he or his team were responsible for the leak.
Theresa May swiftly replaced Williamson with Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary.
She will be the UK's first female defence secretary and retains the job of minister for women and equalities.
Rory Stewart becomes the new international development secretary.
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