Minister who said Corbyn would ‘betray his country’ fired for being a ‘security risk’

Gavin Williamson and Jeremy Corbyn
Fréa Lockley

On 1 May, Theresa May fired defence secretary Gavin Williamson. This is because he’s accused of leaking information after a meeting between ministers and the National Security Council. Williamson has denied the charges. But one awkward fact remains. This is the same man who said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “cannot be trusted”.

“Temporary distraction”?

A Downing Street statement said May “lost confidence in his ability to serve”. In a letter, the PM also told Williamson that she had “compelling evidence” he was responsible for leaks concerning Chinese firm Huawei and UK security forces. The leaked information alleged that May agreed Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, should play an integral role in developing the UK’s 5G network. However, this also sparked security concerns that such close involvement from a Chinese company could threaten UK national security.

Williamson was offered the chance to resign. He refused and May sacked him. Penny Mordaunt is now defence secretary.

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In a letter to May, Williamson strongly denied the allegations. He also stated that he hoped May firing him was not a “temporary distraction”:

Some political journalists shared more detail about Williamson’s denial:

Meanwhile, the BBC‘s Andrew Neil noted that May’s ‘lost’ a lot of people from government since taking office:

“Karma’s a socialist”

Just over a year ago, Williamson claimed Corbyn “cannot be trusted”. He also accused him of a “betrayal of this country” after the Sun alleged Corbyn met and ‘briefed’ a Czech spy in 1968. These claims later turned out to be ungrounded.

So many people pointed out a subtle irony to Williamson’s fate:

Others found comedic aspects in Williamson’s predicament:

But, jokes aside, serious questions still remain concerning any future police investigations over this matter. As the Guardian reported, shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith insisted that Williamson should face prosecution if he did leak the story. Griffith said:

The Tories are in chaos and incapable of sorting out their own crisis. Conservative infighting has undermined the basic functioning of government, and has now potentially put security at risk. The police must urgently investigate.

Scotland Yard said there’s no current investigation underway. In a statement, it said:

Clearly, if at any stage we receive any information that would suggest criminal offences have been committed, then we will look into that.

Williamson still insists he’s innocent and it seems May has no intention of backing down. So for now, it’s just another day and another crisis in the ongoing chaos of the Tory party.

Featured images via Chris McAndrewWikimedia and Rwedland/Wikimedia

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