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Ex-Defence Secretary Faces Jail as UK MPs Demand Probe Into Huawei Leak - Report

© AP Photo / Petros KaradjiasFormer British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson
Former British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson - Sputnik International
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May's office said that she'd decided to sack Gavin Williamson due to compelling evidence that the dismissed defence secretary was behind the Huawei leak; Williamson vehemently denies the accusations.

A group of British MPs have sent a letter to London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding a criminal probe into the sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson’s behaviour in connection with his alleged involvement in the Huawei leak, according to The Daily Mail.

The newspaper cited Lib Dem MPs Jo Swinson, Sir Vince Cable and Sir Ed Davey as saying in the letter that the investigation is needed “to ascertain whether the actions of Mr. Williamson constitute a breach of the Official Secrets Act, given that the leak originated from the National Security Council and related to highly-sensitive information”. The offence stipulates a maximum two-year jail term.

READ MORE: UK in Arctic: Williamson's Show of Force Really is Empty Rhetoric — Pundit

Also demanding police action was Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, who tweeted that “if he [Williamson] has leaked from the National Security Council, he should be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act” and that he “should forgo his ministerial severance pay”.

Scotland Yard responded by saying in a statement that they are aware of the Huawei leak-related media reports and that it is “a matter for the National Security Council and the Cabinet Office to look at”.

“At this time, we’re not carrying out an investigation”, the statement pointed out.

This comes a day after Theresa May sacked Williamson, in a move that was prompted by his “conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council”, according to a statement by 10 Downing Street.

READ MORE: UK Encourages US to Talk With Partners, Iran About Way Forward — Williamson

Williamson reacted to the statement by saying that he flatly denies that he was complicit in the Huawei leak.

“I am sorry that you feel that recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my Department. I emphatically believe this was not the case. I strenuously deny that I was in any way involved in this leak and I am confident that a thorough and formal inquiry would have vindicated my position”, Williamson wrote in a letter to May.

In her letter on sacking Williamson, May, for her part, underscored that she considers “the matter closed”, in an apparent indication that she would like to avoid a police investigation.

READ MORE: UK Intelligence Furious After Williamson's Remark About Russian Threat — Reports

Logo for Huawei at a launch event for the Huawei MateBook in Beijing - Sputnik International
China to UK Amid 5G Leak Row: Don't Discriminate Against Huawei
The development comes after UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned earlier this week that British businesses should exercise a certain degree of caution when cooperating with Chinese companies, such as Huawei, as they allegedly could pose a threat to national security.

This followed earlier reports that May endorsed Huawei's partial participation in the building of Britain's future 5G mobile phone network.

Huawei has been accused by several countries of being sponsored by Beijing and spying on its behalf through its devices; the Chinese tech giant vociferously denies the allegations.

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