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Gavin Williamson sacking: No crime in Huawei 5G leak, says British police

Theresa May on Wednesday sacked Gavin Williamson as defence secretary over the leak last month

AFP | PTI  |  London 


The top-secret leak that Britain had conditionally allowed China's to develop its network, which brought down the defence minister, does not amount to a criminal offence, police concluded Saturday.

on Wednesday sacked as over the leak last month of the bitterly-disputed decision made at the April 23 meeting of the

NSC discussions are only attended by senior ministers and security officials who first sign the that commits them to keep conversations private or risk prosecution.

Some senior opposition figures have called for a police investigation.

But in a statement on Saturday, Neil Basu, the of at London's Metropolitan Police, said a probe would be inappropriate.

"I am satisfied that what was disclosed did not contain information that would breach the Secrets Act," said Basu, whose section is responsible for investigating alleged criminal breaches of the act.

"I am satisfied that the disclosure did not amount to a criminal offence, either under the or misconduct in a public office. No crime has been committed and this is not a matter for the police.

"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."

Williamson has strenuously denied he was the source of the leak, which appeared in newspaper and suggested May had cleared to be involved in "non-core" elements of the network, such as antennae.

Williamson told Saturday's newspaper: "I have been royally screwed over. It is pretty painful. The only thing I want to do now is clear my name."

Newspapers speculated Saturday that Williamson, a sharp operator, was plotting his revenge on May.

The 42-year-old was a trusted ally of the

He was May's when she successfully ran to become in 2016.

Williamson was duly rewarded with the job of -- tasked with enforcing discipline for the Conservatives in parliament and wielding power over misbehavers.

quoted one ally as saying: "Gavin knows where the bodies are buried -- because he buried them himself." He was replaced as by

The is adamantly opposed to Chinese Huawei's involvement in developing Britain's network due to the firm's obligation under Chinese law to help its home government gather intelligence or provide other when required.

David Lidington, May's effective deputy, said Thursday there were no plans to pass information from an internal leak inquiry to the police, saying the regarded the matter as closed.

said that unless a crime was alleged there was nothing for the police to investigate and his unit had not been provided with any evidence of an alleged crime.

First Published: Sat, May 04 2019. 19:25 IST