#Williamson sacking opens accusations against #Huawei

| May 3, 2019

It’s somewhat ironic that a British Cabinet Minister is sacked for leaking secrets from a government meeting called to discuss secrets. But Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) was shown the door when his mobile phone calls’ record linked him to a journalist, writes Phil Braund.

The 11 minutes’ conversation came following a top-secret meeting of the country’s National Security Council. The highly confidential meeting was called to discuss if Chinese tech titan Huawei should help build the UK’s 5G system. The Prime Minister Teresa May announced to her ministers and defence chiefs that Huawei would get the go ahead. Hours later the “never to be talked about decision” was front page headlines.

A prompt security investigation revealed Williamson’s mobile activity – and he was gone. He vehemently denies the allegations – dramatically swearing his innocence “on his children’s lives”.  Since the dismissal Huawei has strongly defended its position as a world leader in cyber technology.

The company is being dogged by accusations from US President Donald Trump that it is insecure. The Americans have launched a worldwide PR campaign to besmirch Huawei, but few have listened.

The Chinese ambassador in London quickly reassured the UK Government that the claims were baseless. Liu Xioming said the American allegations were “scaremongering”. In a side-swipe at the United States – which has already excluded Huawei from its telecoms set-up – Liu urged the British prime minister to resist “protectionism”.

He said: “Countries of global influence, like the UK, make decisions independently and in accordance with their national interests.”  For a few brief moments it appeared as if Mrs May was once again showing her toughness.  Since her disastrous decision to hold a pointless snap election in 2017 – losing her already slim majority – she’s looked a beaten person.

But she came out swinging against Williamson, effectively accusing him of lying to an internal inquiry.  She was swift and firm in her decision making.  Some would say that’s something not seen since the Brexit vote.  Sadly, those purple patch moments have already faded.

The super trouper spotlight of the Conservatives local elections failure is once again shining on a beleaguered PM. And Brexit supporter Williamson is promising to give his former ally Mrs May grief from the backbenches.

But he has always been “gaffe-prone” – and some believe not a good choice as defence secretary.  Among defence chiefs he was thought a lightweight, always looking for a headline.

He wanted the British navy to fire paintballs against the Spanish fleet off the coast of Gibraltar – not exactly Drake defeating the Armada.  And he told Russian President to “shut up and go away”.  He also believed he was bomb-proof after successfully running Mrs May’s 2016 campaign to take over from David Cameron.  Now, an alleged security leak made from his mobile has ended his ambitions.

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Category: A Frontpage, China, EU, UK, US

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