The leak of National Security Council discussions on Chinese tech giant Huawei, which led to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s firing, wasn’t serious enough to launch a probe, British police say.
“I am satisfied that what was disclosed didn’t contain information that would breach the Official Secrets Act,” the UK’s counter-terrorism chief and Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, said.
“The leak did not cause damage to the public interest at a level at which it would be necessary to engage misconduct in a public office. It would be inappropriate to carry out a police investigation in these circumstances.”
However, it caused massive damage to Williamson’s political career, as he was found to be responsible for it. Unlike the police, Prime Minister Theresa May considered the disclosure to be “extremely serious” and “unprecedented,” firing the defence secretary over loss of confidence earlier this week.
The announcement by Basu may be another blow to Williamson, who vigorously denied any wrongdoing, calling his firing a “witch hunt” and “summary execution.” He reportedly told a Sky News journalist that he “wanted a police investigation” into the leak because it would clear his name.
The scandal broke after the Daily Telegraph reported that the UK was planning to involve Huawei in building the country’s 5G network, citing a leak from the National Security Council. The revelation put Britain in an awkward position with the US, which is pressuring its allies to refrain from working with Huawei over claims that its tech is used by Beijing for spying.
During his one and a half years in the office, Williamson, 42, was loved by the media for the blunt and rather childish statements he made on a regular basis – telling Russia to “go away” and “shut up,” proposing to put guns on tractors to save money, and threatening to send an aircraft carrier to Chinese waters which led to the cancellation of a high-profile state visit.
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