SNP calls for Gavin Williamson to lose CBE and Privy Council seat

Gavin Williamson was sacked over a leak from the National Security Council
Gavin Williamson was sacked over a leak from the National Security Council
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The SNP has called for Gavin Williamson, who was sacked as Defence Secretary by Theresa May over a leak from the National Security Council (NSC), to be removed from the Privy Council, thrown out of the Conservative party and stripped of an honour.

SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald has written to Sir Jonathan Stephens, the chairman of the Honours Forfeiture Committee, asking for a CBE given to Mr Williamson by David Cameron to be removed.

Mr McDonald has also written to the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis, to say that “it would now be appropriate for the Conservatives to remove the party whip from Mr Williamson and disbar him from standing as a Conservative candidate in future elections”.

READ MORE: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak

And in a letter to the Prime Minister, the SNP MP says Mr Williamson was “no longer fit to be a member of the Privy Council”.

The former Defence Secretary denies responsibility for a leak of discussions in the NSC over the involvement of Chinese telecoms company Huawei in delivering the UK’s 5G mobile data network.

The government is resisting pressure from opposition parties to refer a leak investigation, which led Mrs May to sack Mr Williamson on Wednesday evening, to the police to establish if the former Defence Secretary breached the Official Secrets Act.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said on Thursday that a criminal investigation was unlikely unless the case is referred to them by the Cabinet Office.

Answering an urgent question in the House of Commons, Theresa May's deputy David Lidington told MPs the government will "co-operate fully" with any investigation, but made clear that the government had no intention of referring the case to Scotland Yard.

A CBE was bestowed on Mr Williamson in the controversial ‘resignation list’ of honours published by Mr Cameron. The South Stafford MP served as Mr Cameron's Parliamentary Private Secretary.

In his letter to the Honours Forfeiture Committee, Mr McDonald writes: “Honours can be withdrawn for a variety of reasons, such as an individual being found guilty of a criminal offence, behaviour which results in censure by a regulatory or a professional body, or any other behaviour that is deemed to bring the honours system into disrepute.

“Whilst at this stage Mr Williamson is not being accused of a criminal offence, the Prime Minister’s conclusion is that she could no longer hold confidence in him after a high-level government investigation found that he had leaked information from the National Security Council.

READ MORE: Fresh calls for ‘outrageous’ Huawei leak to be subject to police inquiry

“This situation is unprecedented and demonstrates that Mr Williamson is no longer fit to hold his CBE.”

Mr McDonald adds in his letter to Mr Lewis that the incident reveals a “deeply troubling degree of contempt on his part for the office that he held, the government investigation and the integrity of the National Security Council”.

The SNP MP said: “Someone who has acted in such a cavalier fashion surely cannot be considered a fit and proper person to hold office as a Conservative Party representative.”