The Speaker
Friday, 14 June 2024 – 10:44

Penny Mourdaunt appointed UK Defence Secretary with Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been sacked following an investigation into a leak from the top-secret National Security Council (NSC).

The investigation came following a leak from last week’s NSC meeting which suggested that the green light had been given to allow Chinese tech firm Huawei to assist with ‘non-core’ parts of the UK’s 5G network.

Details of the decision were leaked to the media, though there was no official confirmation of this decision by the government. The decision, if confirmed, would be highly controversial with concerns raised over national security. The US and Australia have both banned Huawei from selling parts in their respective countries due to security concerns posed by the close relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government, and the fear that equipment may be used for espionage over high-speed internet lines. 

The leak led to the US threatening to withhold information from British Intelligence.

Theresa May met with Mr Williamson on Thursday before a statement was released saying that the PM had “lost confidence in his ability to serve”.

Mrs May said the investigation “provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure” and there was “no other, credible version of events to explain this leak”.

Mr Williamson had denied being the source of the leak, and continues to do so, according to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg;


Following the dismissal, Penny Mourdaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities, has been appointed as the first female Defence Secretary. It is understood she will also continue in her current role as Minister for Women and Equalities.

Photo Credit: UK Department for International Development on Flickr

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