01 May 19. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been sacked following an investigation into the leak of information from the National Security Council.
A statement said Theresa May’s decision was “informed by his conduct”, following an inquiry into the leak.
She had “lost confidence in his ability to serve” in his role, No 10 said.
The inquiry followed reports that ministers had raised concerns over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK’s new 5G network.
Mr Williamson has been defence secretary – his first cabinet role – since 2017 in the wake of Sir Michael Fallon’s sudden resignation.
The inquiry into the National Security Council leak began after a Daily Telegraph report on warnings within cabinet about possible risks to national security over a deal with Huawei.
The National Security Council (NSC) is made up of senior cabinet ministers and its weekly meetings are chaired by the prime minister, with other ministers, officials and senior figures from the armed forces and intelligence agencies invited when needed.
It is a forum where secret intelligence can be shared by GCHQ, MI6 and MI5 with ministers, all of whom have signed the Official Secrets Act.
There has been no formal confirmation of Huawei’s role in the 5G network and No 10 said a final decision would be made at the end of spring.
Huawei has denied there is any risk of spying or sabotage, or that it is controlled by the Chinese government.
Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as the new Defence Secretary.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Another Lady Bracknell moment for Theresa May and her crumbling administration! There was always an air of semi-permanence about Gavin Williamson at Defence, where a number of blunders including the statement that “Russia should go away and shut up,” over the Skripal affair. He did manage a token £1 billion extra for defence and initiated a number of high tech initiatives including £2 million for C-UAV. However, he did not manage to break the Treasury strangle hold over the defence budget with the current equipment plan still being unaffordable. A new Minister will only delay implementation of new Programmes stuck in the queue awaiting approval for more money.
On wider issues, it now looks that Mrs May’s departure will be speeded up with the crashing defeat at the Local Elections tomorrow. A General Election will then beckon with a new Conservative leader, with Boris Johnson one of the favourites. However, speculation that Jeremy Corbyn will walk into No. 10 with a majority look wide of the mark. Labour and the Unions are divided over Brexit and the anti-Semitic stand by Corbyn has lost any chance of the Jewish vote. A hung parliament looks likely with a Conservative/LibDem coalition being the result. This will give the parties time to realign to the new policies and Brexit. However, it doesn’t stop there as the Daily Telegraph reports today that Scotland is likely to get independence within the next two years with Northern Ireland likely to follow into a united Ireland.