May 1, 2019 / 6:32 PM / 3 months ago

Fired UK defense minister Williamson denies Huawei leak

LONDON (Reuters) - Fired by British Prime Minister Theresa May as defense secretary on Wednesday, Gavin Williamson denied leaking information about Chinese telecoms company Huawei from her National Security Council.

Below is a copy of Williamson’s response to May.

Dear Prime Minister,

It has been a great privilege to serve as defense secretary and chief whip in your Government. Every day I have seen the extraordinary work of the men and women of our armed forces, who go to incredible lengths to defend our country.

I am sorry that you feel 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.

I have always trusted my civil servants, military advisers and staff. I believe the assurances they have given me.

I appreciate you offering me the option to resign, but to resign would have been to accept that I, my civil servants, my military advisers or my staff were responsible: this was not the case.

Restoring public confidence in the NSC is an ambition we both share. With that in mind I hope that your decision achieves this aim rather than being seen as a temporary distraction.

As I said there has been no greater privilege than working with our armed forces and I will continue to stand up for our service personnel and the superb work they do.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Frances Kerry

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