The UK government has launched an investigation into the leak of confidential discussions about the role of China's Huawei in Britain's 5G network, Reuters reported on Thursday citing the PoliticsHome website.
The UK government said it was giving a serious consideration to the leak of details about May's move. "We don't normally comment on leak enquires and this matter is being taken very seriously," Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington told reporters.
Shadow Minister for Cabinet Office Jo Platt said: "If a minister did leak this information they are not fit to serve in the cabinet and they are certainly not fit to be prime minister."
"A full leak inquiry should be undertaken, and if identified, the individual should immediately resign or be removed from their position," she added.
Reports in British media suggest that spy chiefs were also angered by matters of national security being shared with the public. Responding to the criticism, a spokesman for Theresa May refused to comment on whether a leak inquiry would go ahead, saying that the PM is "clear that the protection of information on matters of national security is of the highest importance".
While the government is yet to confirm the report about the alleged inquiry, speculation surfaced that the leak could have been politically motivated.
POLITICO cited a UK official as saying that there are "currently five leadership candidates sitting in the National Security Council" − a statement hinting that one of them could have disclosed the details in a bid to put pressure on Theresa May and her Conservative Party leadership.
Meanwhile, a number of British politicians have voiced concerns over the feasibility of this move.
"Allowing Huawei into the UK's 5G infrastructure would cause allies to doubt our ability to keep data secure," tweeted Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the parliament's foreign affairs select committee.
Huawei has faced accusations of spying on behalf of Chinese authorities, although the company insists it is independent from the government. A new report claims that US foreign intelligence officials believe Huawei is sponsored by China's military, and that the country's Ministry of State Security has allegedly approved government funding for the tech giant.
Washington has urged the European Union not to use Huawei's gear in 5G networks over concerns that it would open citizens and governments up to espionage and other forms of cyber-attacks.
Last year, the United States, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand all banned Huawei from participating in government contracts, citing security reasons, while several other countries said they were also worried about Huawei's activities.