Cable calls for criminal investigation into Williamson’s conduct

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Following the sacking of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary over the Huawei leak, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable has called for a thorough criminal investigation into breaches of the Official Secrets Act. He said:

This story cannot begin and end with dismissal from office.

What is at stake is the capacity of our security services to give advice at the highest level.

This must now be referred to the Metropolitan Police for a thorough criminal investigation into breaches of the Official Secrets Act.

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  • Does that mean the Lib Dems are pro-Huawei?

  • Richard Underhill 1st May '19 - 9:03pm

    Article 1?

  • It’s hard to argue against a criminal investigation. If it was a civil servant or a member of the armed forces the investigating authorities would certainly be called in. Williamson has sworn on his children’s lives that he did not leak, so it would enable him to clear his name if he’s telling the truth. To be fair it would come as no surprise if he was innocent, this hopeless PM seems to get everything wrong.

  • John Marriott 2nd May '19 - 8:33am

    No matter how dodgy you might think a deal with Huawei might be, you just DON’T leak proceedings to the press, as people like Hugh Dalton found out to their cost. As some Tory MP said yesterday evening on Newsnight, you just don’t seem to get the right calibre of Minister any more. If Williamson IS innocent, let him legally challenge the decision in court. Knowing the rules on Official Secrets I’m surprised that the Telegraph even touched it. Perhaps they should be prosecuted as well.

  • Mick Taylor 2nd May '19 - 8:56am

    @James. What a stupid comment. Vince is simply asking for a proper investigation of a leak, which was contrary to the Official Secrets Act.

  • John Marriott 2nd May '19 - 9:42am

    And I forgot to add, if Williamson really did feel that strongly about the decision, he could have done what Michael Heseltine did over the Westland affair.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd May '19 - 10:15am

    Please see the exchange of letters, not the usual courtesies.
    Please also note that this PM has recently been extremely reluctant to sack incompetent Ministers (think Transport) or disloyal Tories (Please see Laura K. tweets of 1/5/2019 about what the PM said at the Liaison Committee).
    More interesting than Prime Minister’s Questions is the grand-daddy of all committees.
    All the members of the committee are parliamentary committee chairs, two of whom are disloyal ToryMPs (ERG). The PM told them how and when she had been voting and what the consequences had been. Another described himself as a loyal Tory MP, but clearly unhappy. Others, including the chair of chairs wanted a confirmatory referendum.
    I used to watch this committee when Alan Beith MP was chair.
    At PMQ only two party leaders get to follow up the PM’s answer, but on the Liaison Committee each can. They all get their turn. The chair rations their time, proportionately.
    While the Commons was carried live on the Parliamentary Channel (201 FreeSat)
    the Liaison Committee was carried live and entire on the News Channel (200 FreeSat).

  • I believe that Williamson has admitted ‘talking’ to the reporter who broke the story…A pertinent question might be to ask what the conversation was about?

  • Richard Underhill 2nd May '19 - 5:07pm

    The sacking of the Defence Minister has led to two consequential promotions.
    1) A female replacement for him, as requested at the Liaison Committee on Wednesday
    2) a replacement for her;
    2.1) prisons Minister Rory Stewart escapes his commitment to resign if he failed to achieve his objectives, there is a pilot test of new improved electronic tags, worn by Ministers (!) so will the Tory chief whip demand the same?
    On the Peston programme (ITV) influential Tory MP Nicki Morgan said she was now convinced that voting rights should be available at the ages of 16 and 17. The young spokespersons on climate change were persuasive. (The anti-democrat voices have tended to be patronising to younger people).

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd May '19 - 9:39pm

    I can’t believe that I am sympathising with Mr Williamson, but I feel that in fairness to him, a criminal investigation must be held into any breach in the official secrets act that may have occurred. It will give him the opportunity to clear his name or otherwise.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd May '19 - 11:34pm

    This issue is being debated on BBC tv Question Time, but nobody s referring to the training that MPs and Ministers have received from “Yes Minister” and “Yes Prime Minister”.
    The SofS for Labour was subjected to a constructive dismissal at a Cabinet meeting and left saying that the PM was being “dictatorial”, which that PM actually liked. The PM then instructed the Cabinet Secretary to put the underlying policy issue top of the agenda at the next Cabinet meeting.
    Applied to the issue of a telecoms company, this may be only about the price of electronic components which may be cheaper in China. Do the NATO countries or the 5I countries not have electronic companies which can provide these components?

  • Richard Underhill – there are Nokia and Ericsson, as well as a number of American firms. Huawei has already been banned in the US long ago. In the UK, we used to have Marconi/GEC, but they were long dead. If the UK decides to exclude Huawei like three other Five Eyes nations, which I think it should as the security risk is too high, Canada will have to do the same as. Letting Huawei building 5G is like letting the Soviet Union building key infrastructures during the Cold War.

    James – on the other hand, an investigation is needed to bring this shady deal into the light.

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