Gavin Williamson had a phone dialog with the journalist who revealed the Chinese language firm Huawei was to be allowed entry to Britain’s telecommunications community quickly after the Nationwide Safety Council assembly during which it was mentioned, The Unbiased understands.
Nonetheless, the now former defence secretary repeatedly denied he had been supply of the data when he was interviewed by Cabinet Office officers throughout an inquiry into the unprecedented leak of information from the physique, which receives intelligence from worldwide safety businesses.
The Unbiased understands the interview with Mr Williamson passed off on Friday, after he interrupted a vacation in Scotland to cooperate with the investigation. It’s believed he was the primary cupboard minister spoken to through the probe ordered by Sir Mark Sedwill, the cupboard secretary and nationwide safety advisor.
The defence secretary was one among at the least 5 cupboard ministers on the safety council assembly who opposed permitting Huawei into the UK’s 5G community, one thing the US and different allies think about to be an intelligence danger due to the agency’s ties with the Chinese language state.
With Mr Williamson’s insistence that he was not accountable for the leak, the main focus has additionally been on his workers and advisers. A few of them, The Unbiased has realized, have already been interviewed and a few have had their safety clearance withdrawn.
Sources near Mr Williamson are claiming his sacking has been orchestrated by Sir Mark Sedwill. The pair haven’t seen eye to eye on quite a few points and the previous defence secretary had been crucial of a defence safety assessment which had been undertaken by the cupboard secretary.
A few of Mr Williamson’s workers had been in a bullish temper after their boss’s departure, saying that they’ve info which factors the finger of guilt in regards to the leak being at others who had attended the assembly.
Sources within the Cupboard Workplace, nonetheless, say they’re happy that the leaker has been recognized. In her letter to Mr Williamson the prime minister wrote “no different credible model of occasions to clarify this leak has been recognized”. Theresa Might claimed that her defence secretary had not been as candid with the investigators as others.
She wrote: “They’ve all answered questions, engaged correctly, offered as a lot info as doable to help with the investigation and inspired others to do the identical. Your conduct has not been of the identical normal as others.”