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-   -   Gavin Williamson Sacked over Huawei Leaks (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/621077-gavin-williamson-sacked-over-huawei-leaks.html)

WingsofRoffa 1st May 2019 17:58

Gavin Williamson Sacked over Huawei Leaks
 
DefSec Williamson has been axed.

Letter here:

Penny Mordaunt is the replacement.

Treble one 1st May 2019 18:06

Story here
 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48126974

NutLoose 1st May 2019 18:12

Shame, he struck me as a pro military minister as opposed to some of them that went before.

pr00ne 1st May 2019 18:19

Agree with Nutloose. I fear that Defence will regret this loss.

Melchett01 1st May 2019 18:21

I see Penny Morduant will retain her position as Minister for Women. Another part time Defence Secretary. Tells you everything you need to know, if you didn’t already have questions, about the PM’s opinion of the Forces. Disgusting.

I suspect this also means Williamson now has free rein to do as he sees fit now no longer constrained by Collective Responsibility.

Imagegear 1st May 2019 18:31

He's denying all responsibility...was his phone hacked, which phone were the calls made from, did a "meeting" occur???

I doubt this will be the end of the story.

IG

sharpend 1st May 2019 18:40

I doubt if May's government will last much longer anyway. Williamson is best out of it. As an aside, it seemed that May was, as usual, was/is going her own way anyway and ignoring the advice of her MOD staff.

And I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Is this a stitch-up?

Auxtank 1st May 2019 18:43


Originally Posted by pr00ne (Post 10460698)
Agree with Nutloose. I fear that Defence will regret this loss.

Agreed also.

I blame the Russians. Hacked his phone and set him up like a duck.

There's more to this story than meets the eye.

Either way it's a shame, he was good at his job.

Fareastdriver 1st May 2019 19:00

You were all slagging him off when he first got the job.

https://www.pprune.org/military-avia...vin+williamson

racedo 1st May 2019 19:04

Inept, incompetent and great for jumping in without a clue.

When the list is drawn up of great Defence Secretaries he will not be listed on any page.

Onceapilot 1st May 2019 19:12

Oh dear, what a pity! Who here can know? What I have seen of him, from open reporting, is...diddly-squat! Shouted his mouth off at times but, fell on his face repeatedly. Where is his "thrice rehashed" Defence review? I see no evidence of some great new dawn of political Defence reality waiting to emerge and, I sense a continued "Softly, softly, Oooops" ...! :rolleyes:

OAP

Willard Whyte 1st May 2019 19:27


Originally Posted by Fareastdriver (Post 10460725)
You were all slagging him off when he first got the job.

https://www.pprune.org/military-avia...vin+williamson

Yes, I did. I was wrong (-ish), in that he at least seemed to be 'on our side'.

I wonder whether any members of the NSC own a Huawei 'phone...

Out Of Trim 1st May 2019 19:43

I thought he was better than some of the previous Ministers, and stood up for The Armed Services rather well. I don't believe he leaked the NSC information. But someone did or otherwise the journalist added 2 and 2 and came up with the correct answer.

I'm pretty sure that Huawei equipment in our network could be a risk to out National Security. The rest of the Five Eyes certainly think so!

BirdmanBerry 1st May 2019 20:03

Without knowing how they found this out, surely the paper should be forced to show their source seeing as it was in breach of the OSA?

GeeRam 1st May 2019 20:12


Originally Posted by racedo (Post 10460729)
When the list is drawn up of great Defence Secretaries he will not be listed on any page.

Is there even enough of those to be able to fill a single page :confused:

The Old Fat One 1st May 2019 20:27

hahahahahaha

"Strong and stable government"

lololololololololol

Willard Whyte 1st May 2019 20:40

At least she's previously been Minister of State for the Armed Forces and is a Royal Naval Reservist, so has some background in defence matters. Daughter of a former Para too.

Made I chuckle too (from Wiki):

When receiving The Spectator magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year award in November 2014, Mordaunt said that she had delivered a speech in the House of Commons just before the Easter recess in 2013 on poultry welfare so as to use the word "cock" as a forfeit for a misdemeanour during Naval Reserve training. Mordaunt used the word "cock" six times and "lay" or "laid" five times. Following her comments, she was accused by Labour MP Kate Hoey of trivialising parliament.

ORAC 1st May 2019 21:13

https://order-order.com/

Gavin Williamson has responded to the PM’s letter

Dear Prime Minister,

It has been a great privilege to serve as Defence 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.

Yours,

Gavin



Auxtank 1st May 2019 21:28


Originally Posted by The Old Fat One (Post 10460790)
hahahahahaha

"Strong and stable government"

lololololololololol

Aside from your jocularity, I wonder; do you have any sort of plan as to how we might take the dear old country forward without us all becoming depressingly, wretchedly and ultimately a failure-bomb of pseudo-communism under Jeremy's silly little plans?

I ask purely for information.

Er, lol's - as they say...and as you have stated...

racedo 1st May 2019 22:12


Originally Posted by Willard Whyte (Post 10460801)
When receiving The Spectator magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year award in November 2014, Mordaunt said that she had delivered a speech in the House of Commons just before the Easter recess in 2013 on poultry welfare so as to use the word "cock" as a forfeit for a misdemeanour during Naval Reserve training. Mordaunt used the word "cock" six times and "lay" or "laid" five times. Following her comments, she was accused by Labour MP Kate Hoey of trivialising parliament.

Give her credit for it, as for trivialising parliment................ every day that is done,

The Old Fat One 1st May 2019 22:18


Aside from your jocularity, I wonder; do you have any sort of plan as to how we might take the dear old country forward without us all becoming depressingly, wretchedly and ultimately a failure-bomb of pseudo-communism under Jeremy's silly little plans?
Seriously, I struggle to find any other response than "jocularity" when it comes to all matters Westminster. I have that in common with most other intelligent life forms on Planet Earth right now...we are a laughing stock...an accolade we have worked hard for, and which we richly deserve.

So no, I have no plan other than a dreamers wish that something better will emerge...but I'm afraid the cynic in me will not believe in any such possibility. So please leave me in peace with my sense of humour and a large bottle of single malt.

PS

I hold no candle for any political party currently existing...but I do feel the re-emergence of the old Monster Raving Looney Party would be marked improvement on any of the current lot.

PPS

And I repeat...



The sacking of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson makes him the 38th person to have left the May Government in just over 12 months, and the sixth Cabinet minister. It’s a departure record.
...Strong and Stable Government

hahahahahahahahahahah :)

ORAC 1st May 2019 22:22

Consider not as a resignation - but as an application for her job.....

Out Of Trim 1st May 2019 22:29

ORAC,

Sounds like a plan! :ok:

langleybaston 1st May 2019 22:29

I too have found him pro-armed forces. His refusal to resign reads very convincingly, and I think he may well have the ability to shaft the shafters ..... still a young man in political terms.

oldmansquipper 1st May 2019 22:36

At least he 'appeared' to be on our side.

whereas.
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....b8875e5da.jpeg

AR1 1st May 2019 22:57

Lot of fuss over something thats not here yet. (5G). Its a good job they arent already in our established 2,3&4G Networks.
Oh hold on one second...


oldmansquipper 1st May 2019 23:28


Originally Posted by AR1 (Post 10460916)
Lot of fuss over something thats not here yet. (5G). Its a good job they arent already in our established 2,3&4G Networks.
Oh hold on one second...

...are you sure you aren't getting mixed up with the Noo Kassel based phone provider "Ha' Waay?"



Warmtoast 1st May 2019 23:41

As The Metro front page reports re the Gavin Williamson sacking

Go Huawei And Shut Up

The Old Fat One 2nd May 2019 06:34


One senior Conservative also points out a rich irony here, saying: "A government that governs by open leaking then sacks someone for not being open about their leaking. We have surely moved from the incompetent to the theatre of the absurd!"
The defence rests (no pun intended)

Asturias56 2nd May 2019 08:01

Williamson was always pro- Gavin Williamson and nothing more

the mad statements (eg sending the fleet to warn off China etc) every Monday morning to get his picture in the press, the dressing in military gear, again to get his picture in the press....

he was clearly the main suspect for the leak and he admits he had a telephone conversation with the Telegraph journalist who broke the story immediately after the meeting... what an idiot ........

Another useless UK career politician who can't tell the difference between his own career and the UK's interest........

Thank God he was nailed now before he could do serious damage.................

FlightlessParrot 2nd May 2019 08:03


Originally Posted by Out Of Trim (Post 10460762)

I'm pretty sure that Huawei equipment in our network could be a risk to out National Security. The rest of the Five Eyes certainly think so!

The relevant NZ telecoms company wants to use Huawei for 5G (their stuff iss cheaper), but the Government was pretty clearly heavied by the USA into excluding them. I think the same for Australia. There was a report in the press that spooks had examined the Huawei software, and found no trap doors, but the whole thing was so old and crusty that it would be easy to hack (https://www.techspot.com/news/79404-...-security.html).

I don't know, but it's not exactly unanimous spontaneous consent with the idea that Huawei is an arm of the Communist Party of the PRC, which is the US claim.

Asturias56 2nd May 2019 08:22

From May's letter...

"am therefore concerned by the manner in which you have engaged with this investigation.

It has been conducted fairly, with the full co-operation of other NSC attendees.

They have all answered questions, engaged properly, provided as much information as possible to assist with the investigation, and encouraged their staff to do the same. Your conduct has not been of the same standard as others.

In our meeting this evening, I put to you the latest information from the investigation, which provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure.

No other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified."

So presumably he DIDN'T answer all the questions, encourage his staff to help or provide info........ he wouldn't have stiffed him unless he was being slithery as hell I guess.......

AR1 2nd May 2019 09:08


Originally Posted by oldmansquipper (Post 10460925)
...are you sure you aren't getting mixed up with the Noo Kassel based phone provider "Ha' Waay?"

No, their infrastructure is already in use throughout the UK in various operators. They have offices in the UK to support it.
As far as Williamson is concerned the sacking is (as far as I can see) a reaction to the leaking that some ministers were opposed to the inclusion of Huawei in the 5G rollout. Good. Im glad that there are people who challenge those decisions, but confidentiality is key. If he was that unhappy, and considered the risk high then he could have resigned and made the reasons public.

Most of us are not in a position to make well founded judgements on the risk of Huawei to our security. We, and Europe have been soft on this in the past; the promise of cheaper infrastructure has been enough to offset the risk (possibly with some other operational safeguards). The USA on the other hand, does what the USA always does. Handle it with paranoia doused with a hint of McArthyism - Witness the blocking of bids to aquire former us giant Motorola Networks. The big 'M' were strong wherever the USA had influence and as such a sucessful aquisition would have led to a land grab of infratructure within the US itself and elsewhere. It went to Nokia.

My own direct dealings with them, albeit some years ago led to them placing a limited order with the UK for technical samples for evaluation within thier infrastructure back in China. The board of the company blocked the sale as they felt it was a risk to our IP. If they'd have ordered 10k we might well have done it. - Risk vs Reward.

Treble one 2nd May 2019 10:13

Point of order ORAC-he was sacked for potentially being in breach of the OSA. Its not a great advertisment for his claims to be PM.

Can only think he forgot he was at the NSC and not a Cabinet meeting (if it was him).

Chugalug2 2nd May 2019 10:24


Originally Posted by Treble one (Post 10461149)
Point of order ORAC-he was sacked for potentially being in breach of the OSA.

Perhaps, or perhaps not. Lord O'Donnell (former Cabinet Secretary) reported on the BBC News Site as saying on the Today Programme :-


Lord O'Donnell stresses the leak was only a breach of the ministerial code, "not a breach of the Official Secrets Act that is putting people's lives at risk".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-48131091

Treble one 2nd May 2019 10:32


Originally Posted by Chugalug2 (Post 10461155)
Perhaps, or perhaps not. Lord O'Donnell (former Cabinet Secretary) reported on the BBC News Site as saying on the Today Programme :-




https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-48131091


Indeed Chugalug2. I'm sure the reason that the PM now considers this matter 'closed' despite the potential National Security implications, is that a police level investigation may not quite reveal the answer that she got to? Possibly hurried chats with The Met Chief, along the lines of 'don't worry Cressida, its sorted, nothing to see here...'

Of course, the opposition politicos won't let it lie and I believe there is an Urgent question in the HOC in a minute or two from the Tom Watson MP.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. The former SoS Defence knows where a lot of bodies lie and skeletons can be found in cupboards it seems...and he's not so amused at having his name associated with an act of treason. He may demand due process himself?

Just This Once... 2nd May 2019 12:10

Well this went off-script quickly!

As soon as Sir Mark Sedwill was appointed by the PM as the leak investigator it set in chain the usual business of removing Number 10, the Cabinet Office and the NSC chair as entities for suspicion or investigation. Quite handy when you know they leak as a matter of routine.

Sir Mark's list of suspects was now contained to the intelligence agencies themselves (highly unlikely and outside of his gift) so effectively he had to pick either the Home Sec or Defence Sec. Even if he wanted too, picking the Home Office would have triggered a Met Police investigation as they would have undoubted primacy.

As the PM knew, Sir Mark managed to pull a fast one on Gavin Williamson when he deleted the MoD from the Defence Review, chairing it himself as the NSC. When this started to unravel Williamson dug the knife into Sir Mark and a separate MoD orchestrated 'Defence Modernisation Review' was split away from the NSC chair. More dummies were spat.

But as the PM knew, the normal politics would kick-in: The Defence Secretary would be asked to resign and he would dutifully accept responsibility for an 'inadvertent error' and everyone would agree that it was all a big mistake with no real consequences and no need for the Met Police as everything has been resolved.

With Gavin Williamson issuing a flat denial and positively courting a police investigation it has all gone tits-up. The PM cannot claim that the matter is closed as, effectively, there is a counter claim that somebody else leaked the information and has managed to evade the first investigation - effectively a criminal matter. Equally, Williamson has surrendered the 'inadvertent error' political defence and is equally liable for a criminal investigation.

With so many senior politicians chalking this up as a major security breach it is difficult to see how the PM can avoid a police investigation. Nobody has admitted an error and nobody is accepting the blame.

Jackonicko 2nd May 2019 12:19

I couldn’t disagree more with Asturias’ opinion that Gavin Williamson was just: “Another useless UK career politician who can't tell the difference between his own career and the UK's interest.” I’d also argue with Racedo and Onceapilot, and would tend to agree with Nutloose and Proone.



One of the perks of being a defence journo is that one gets to meet many Defence Ministers and senior officers.



In some cases all one gets is an opportunity to ask the odd question within a huddle of politician/officer, minders, and hacks. In other cases one gets a hurried chat. Occasionally you get the chance for a longer sit down one-on-one chat. At the other end of the spectrum there are politicians you see and hear but can’t engage with - Geoff Hoon seemed very keen to avoid any contact with journalists at all!



A journo’s contact with any Defence Secretary is not enough to claim great insight or knowledge, but it can be enough to form an impression.



Since I started working in this field full time, there have been ten Tory Defence Secretaries and six Labour, plus countless junior Ministers. I’ve properly met about eight of them, and watched and questioned a few more.



John Reid struck me as being very in command of his brief, knowledgeable and professional, while the floor-crossing Quentin Davies was also incredibly knowledgeable about defence, and had great personal charm. They seemed to be ‘better friends to defence’ than some Tory Secretaries of State and Ministers.



Phil Hammond was an incredibly professional operator – so in command of his brief that he seemed relaxed and self confident even when dealing with the kind of really granular detail that I would not have expected him to know about. And he was another really charming and friendly, open and approachable chap.



It’s easy to sneer at Williamson – he didn’t seem to have that ‘Eton and Oxford polish’ that many senior politicians have (whether they went to those institutions or not), and seemed to have trouble with the digraph ‘th’, sometimes substituting an ‘f’ or ‘v’ which doesn’t matter, but which gives an impression of not being well educated. His well publicised howlers (telling the Russians to shut up and go away, etc.) were embarrassing, and his boyish enthusiasm could sometimes get in the way. At the F-35B/Centurion IOC announcement, for example, his insistence on speaking off the cuff, without notes, meant that he failed to actually announce anything, leading to an undignified scrabble to do so by senior officers and press minders after his speech. You never got the feeling that he had a surgically incisive brain, nor a particularly detailed command of every element of his brief.



But after speaking to him, I was left in no doubt as to his genuine enthusiasm for defence, his keenness to evangelise for it, and his willingness to fight tooth and nail to get his department every penny that it needed and to oppose the Treasury. He seemed to appreciate the extraordinary calibre of our servicemen, and even to be slightly in awe of them (something I share!), and he seemed to have a real appreciation of the many threats facing us.



There sometimes seems to be a tendency among senior officers and politicians to pursue the procurement of particular high profile, high tech weapons systems – almost as though they want their legacy to be ‘the CAS or Defence Secretary who got the RAF the Scruggs Wonderplane’ – while presiding over cuts to force structure. Williamson seemed to have a real understanding of the vital importance of mass – of the need for more bayonets, more ships and more squadrons.



He is clearly an ambitious young man, but he was the first Defence Secretary I’ve met who didn’t seem to view Defence as being merely a toe hold for a long ascent of the greasy pole, and the first who might have been willing to put the interests of his department ahead of career and self interest.



I’d be VERY surprised if Ms Mordaunt was anything like as pro-defence as Williamson, or as willing to fight its corner, and I therefore very much regret his removal.



Melchett pointed out an interesting tendency for Defence to be viewed as being a relatively unimportant brief, nowadays, citing Penny Morduant’s retention of her position as Minister for Women.



This is nothing new. Wasn’t George Robertson given Defence to make up for his disappointment of not getting Scotland?


Melchett01 2nd May 2019 12:34


Originally Posted by Jackonicko (Post 10461229)
I couldn’t disagree more with Asturias’ opinion that Gavin Williamson was just: “Another useless UK career politician who can't tell the difference between his own career and the UK's interest.” I’d also argue with Racedo and Onceapilot, and would tend to agree with Nutloose and Proone.

One of the perks of being a defence journo is that one gets to meet many Defence Ministers and senior officers.

In some cases all one gets is an opportunity to ask the odd question within a huddle of politician/officer, minders, and hacks. In other cases one gets a hurried chat. Occasionally you get the chance for a longer sit down one-on-one chat. At the other end of the spectrum there are politicians you see and hear but can’t engage with - Geoff Hoon seemed very keen to avoid any contact with journalists at all!

A journo’s contact with any Defence Secretary is not enough to claim great insight or knowledge, but it can be enough to form an impression.

Since I started working in this field full time, there have been ten Tory Defence Secretaries and six Labour, plus countless junior Ministers. I’ve properly met about eight of them, and watched and questioned a few more.

John Reid struck me as being very in command of his brief, knowledgeable and professional, while the floor-crossing Quentin Davies was also incredibly knowledgeable about defence, and had great personal charm. They seemed to be ‘better friends to defence’ than some Tory Secretaries of State and Ministers.

Phil Hammond was an incredibly professional operator – so in command of his brief that he seemed relaxed and self confident even when dealing with the kind of really granular detail that I would not have expected him to know about. And he was another really charming and friendly, open and approachable chap.

It’s easy to sneer at Williamson – he didn’t seem to have that ‘Eton and Oxford polish’ that many senior politicians have (whether they went to those institutions or not), and seemed to have trouble with the digraph ‘th’, sometimes substituting an ‘f’ or ‘v’ which doesn’t matter, but which gives an impression of not being well educated. His well publicised howlers (telling the Russians to shut up and go away, etc.) were embarrassing, and his boyish enthusiasm could sometimes get in the way. At the F-35B/Centurion IOC announcement, for example, his insistence on speaking off the cuff, without notes, meant that he failed to actually announce anything, leading to an undignified scrabble to do so by senior officers and press minders after his speech. You never got the feeling that he had a surgically incisive brain, nor a particularly detailed command of every element of his brief.

But after speaking to him, I was left in no doubt as to his genuine enthusiasm for defence, his keenness to evangelise for it, and his willingness to fight tooth and nail to get his department every penny that it needed and to oppose the Treasury. He seemed to appreciate the extraordinary calibre of our servicemen, and even to be slightly in awe of them (something I share!), and he seemed to have a real appreciation of the many threats facing us.

There sometimes seems to be a tendency among senior officers and politicians to pursue the procurement of particular high profile, high tech weapons systems – almost as though they want their legacy to be ‘the CAS or Defence Secretary who got the RAF the Scruggs Wonderplane’ – while presiding over cuts to force structure. Williamson seemed to have a real understanding of the vital importance of mass – of the need for more bayonets, more ships and more squadrons.

He is clearly an ambitious young man, but he was the first Defence Secretary I’ve met who didn’t seem to view Defence as being merely a toe hold for a long ascent of the greasy pole, and the first who might have been willing to put the interests of his department ahead of career and self interest.

I’d be VERY surprised if Ms Mordaunt was anything like as pro-defence as Williamson, or as willing to fight its corner, and I therefore very much regret his removal.

Melchett pointed out an interesting tendency for Defence to be viewed as being a relatively unimportant brief, nowadays, citing Penny Morduant’s retention of her position as Minister for Women.

This is nothing new. Wasn’t George Robertson given Defence to make up for his disappointment of not getting Scotland?

I was thrinking more of Des Browne who was double-hatted as Defence and Scottish Secs, which I recall at the time caused a not inconsiderable degree of angst that Gordon Brown was doing Defence on the cheap once again. Regardless of what one thinks of Williamson as the SoS - I would go for very pro, almost to the extent of over extending and commiting to prove a point - this isn’t over by a long shot. I think Williamson’s removal is very politically convenient; it enables Sedwill to get his revenge and also to present the Chinese with a head on a platter - the head causing so many ‘issues’ - so we can move forward economically with the Golden Era.

But the odds are shortening on a formal investigation and as the former Chief Whip he knows where the skeletons are. And the rmore Number 10 refuses to refer the issue to the Met for formal investigation, the more likely people are to believe that there is something to hide which they know professional investigators could well uncover.

Bob Viking 2nd May 2019 12:35

Jacko
 
An excellent post but I’m afraid I must reprimand you for a severe breech of Pprune RoE.

Why would you bring actual experience based on personal encounters to a conversation that is clearly better served by supposition and hearsay?

I expected better from you.

BV
😉


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