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Trust in security services damaged by Williamson leak

Former Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the trust of security and intelligence agencies was undermined by former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The now Education Secretary was sacked from May’s cabinet in 2019 after an investigation concluded he had leaked discussions about the role of Chinese telecoms firm Huawei in the UK’s 5G network. Giving evidence to the National Security Strategy Committee, May said the incident came as a ’shock to the system’.

Questioned about the damage caused by Williamson’s actions, May said her colleague undermined for a period the trust of intelligence agencies and others that was needed for them to offer unvarnished advice to ministers.

Speaking to the committee, May also reiterated her concern over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to appoint David Frost as national security adviser - an appointment that was reversed earlier this year. She told crossbench peer Herbert Laming that the national security adviser should be an individual who has experience in the security field.

Frost, now a peer, has now been made Johnson’s ministerial lead on Brexit, while the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, was appointed as national security adviser.

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