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Defence Secretary sacked as MP Tom Tugendhat question's government decision to work with Chinese firm Huawei

The Prime Minister has sacked the defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who succeeded the Kent MP Sir Michael Fallon when he resigned from the role.

It comes amid reports Mr Williamson was involved in a leak of information from the National Security Council about the decision by the government to work with the Chinese company Huawei. He has denied he was behind any leak.

The shock announcement came as Kent MP Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, voiced reservations about the government’s decision to work with the Chinese company Huawei.

Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: Mecha Morton
Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: Mecha Morton

The Tonbridge and Malling MP spoke out at Prime Minister's Questions before the news of the sacking of the defence secretary.

He said: “Apart from the extraordinary leak which I won't go into, the decision that is being discussed in many parts of the world is the possibility that we will be nesting a dragon in the critical national infrastructure of the UK by allowing Huawei to build the Cyber network that will power the UK.

MP Tom Tugendhat speaking in Parliament. Picture: Parliament TV
MP Tom Tugendhat speaking in Parliament. Picture: Parliament TV

"This decision is frankly extraordinary given the advice of the National Security Agency.”

He went on to ask the Prime Minister why she was ignoring the advice of two of the UK's closest intelligence allies and putting in danger the 70 year intelligence sharing relationship.

The Gravesham MP Adam Holloway, a former soldier and a member of the Commons' select committee, has also raised concerns about the UK’s involvement with Huawei.

MP Adam Holloway. Picture: Steve Crispe
MP Adam Holloway. Picture: Steve Crispe

In an article for the Conservative Home website, he quoted a former employee of the company who told him: “If a 16 year old with Aspergers can break into US Department of Defence computers, what is to stop a very clever Chinese company putting in trap doors that they can activate whenever they want?”

Mr Williamson has denied he was behind the leak.

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