Former Secretary of Defence Gavin Williamson, fired by Theresa May, having lost “lost confidence” in his ability to serve, has been okayed to return to the British government despite his disgraceful exit several weeks ago, the Daily Mail reports. The British outlet cites a source in prime minister hopeful Boris Johnson’s team, saying that Sir Mark Sedwill, who is said to have forced Williamson out of the cabinet, had promised the frontrunner in the Conservative leadership contest not to block the latter from joining the government.
Although the ex-defence secretary lost his job over a leak of confidential discussions about Chinese firm Huawei’s involvement in the development of Britain’s future 5G network, he denied any involvement in the affair. Sedwill is claimed to have done an about face on the matter and told Johnson that “he knew Williamson had not leaked it”.
“If he did inadvertently mention something, it had been mentioned by others too”, the insider said as cited by the media.
A source from the UK Ministry of Defence, however, is said to have dismissed the reports about the Cabinet Secretary’s change of heart as “laughable”. According to the outlet, the secret services chiefs are even ready to walk out if Williamson is granted access to classified information again.
The Daily Mail points out that the disgraced politician helped Conservative leadership contender Johnson to secure the Tory MPs’ votes in the first round of the race. The outlet cites friends saying Williamson is “exceptionally well-suited” to take over no less a role than deputy prime minister.
Williamson was sacked on 1 May following an inquiry into the Huawei leak. He was accused of divulging the details of a confidential meeting of the National Security Council on whether to allow the Chinese telecom giant to take part in building Britain’s future 5G mobile phone network.
While Prime Minister Theresa May said investigators had found “compelling evidence” that Williamson was the source of the information spill, namely, an 11-minute phone conversation with a journalist to which he admitted, the former cabinet minister insisted that it did not have to do with confidential information and called the investigation a “witch hunt from the start”.