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.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office had 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.
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.
Also demanding police action was Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, who tweeted that “if he 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.
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.
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.