Defence secretary Gavin Williamson has been removed from his role following an inquiry into allegations that he leaked information from a high-level National Security Council (NSC) meeting related to working with Huawei to build out the UK's 5G network.
The inquiry came after reports surfaced over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK's new 5G network despite growing security concerns surrounding the Chinese hardware maker.
Williamson, who has served as defence secretary since 2017, continues to deny that he or his team leaked any information from the NSC.
- 5G: How will businesses benefit?
- Huawei security slammed by UK government report
- Huawei revenue soars despite US allegations and restrictions
Downing Street has responded to the allegations by saying that the PM had “lost confidence in his ability to serve” and the role will now be filled by the former minister for international development Penny Mordaunt who will be the first woman to take on the position.
During a meeting with Williamson this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May informed him that she had received intel that provided “compelling evidence” that he was responsible for the unauthorised disclosure.
May doubled down on the decision to let Williamson go in a letter confirming his dismissal in which she said: “No other, credible versions of events to explain this leak has been identified.”
The Daily Telegraph first reported on warnings with cabinet about potential risks to national security over a deal with Huawei which led to the inquiry into the NSC leak.
Huawei's role in the UK's 5G network has not yet been formally confirmed and Downing Street has said that a final decision will be made at the end of spring.