Theresa May used Huawei leak ‘to show leadership’

Britain's International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt arrives at 10 Downing Street to attend a Cabinet meeting in London

But he was sacked by the Prime Minister on Wednesday after an inquiry into a leak to the Daily Telegraph of information about the Chinese tech giant from the National Security Council meeting pinned the blame on him.

The disclosure centred on an April 23 meeting of the U.K.'s National Security Council, a body bringing together Ministers, officials and heads of the intelligence agencies, to discuss top-level intelligence matter.

Whether leaked or not, a decision to allow Huawei to participate in building the country's national 5G infrastructure would create tensions between the United Kingdom and its main ally, the United States.

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"On the plus side, Penny Mordaunt, his successor, does at least bring some knowledge with her from her time as a defense minister under David Cameron", Wheeldon added.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "There's a very, very important principle of our system that those decisions are not made by politicians, they are made independently by police".

The central role he played and the trust he built in brokering a deal with the DUP means he has the potential to work across benches to orchestrate opposition to the Prime Ministers efforts.

Leaking from within May's Cabinet has become routine as her political authority has drained away.

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Mr Lidington said it "boils down to what is set out in the ministerial code" and so the prime minister was "the ultimate judge of the standards of behaviour expected of a minister".

Mr Williamson's abrupt firing as head of the Ministry of Defence sent shockwaves around Westminster on Wednesday after Mrs May said the inquiry had found "compelling evidence" suggesting he was to blame. May said an investigation had left no other credible explanation for the leak except that he was responsible.

Penny Mordaunt, former minister for global development, has now been named as defence secretary in place of Mr Williamson. She has said she will step down for the next stage of Brexit negotiations (at a yet to determined time) and a heated battle is on to take over, including among some of those who attended the NSC meeting.

And Mrs May is also potentially liable because she sanctioned Mr Williamson's promotion when he put himself forward to be Defence Secretary - a position for which he had no discernible qualification - after Sir Michael Fallon quit in November 2017 when allegations emerged about his previous behaviour towards women.

Former national security adviser Lord Ricketts told BBC Newsnight that that police should be involved if there was a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Williamson has continued to deny responsibility, saying he had been judged by a "kangaroo court".

Asked about the possibility of a prosecution, Mrs 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".

It is vital that I have full confidence in the members of my Cabinet and of the National Security Council. "The Defence Secretary's approach to the inquiry was different to that of the others".

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