Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Huawei leak a 'disgrace'

Friday, April 26, 2019

The former defence secretary has branded a leak of secret discussions by the UK's top national security body a "disgrace".

Sir Malcolm Rifkind appeared on the breakfast show to discuss the news that an unknown source had leaked classified information discussed by the National Security Council on whether to grant telecoms giant Huawei the go-ahead to participate in the UK's 5G communications network.

"Any country, whatever its political system has to keep certain information intensely private, otherwise the national interest suffers very, very much," he told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"It is a disgrace what has happened, assuming that the leaks accurately reflect the discussions that took place."

There are now calls for a full police inquiry into the leak, with cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill reportedly demanding ministers in attendance at the meeting confess or deny if they were behind the leak.

"These are all extremely senior ministers. They will have known what the rules are," he said.

"They will have known that it is infinitely worse to disclose information that may be covered by the Official Secrets Act than merely mention what may have happened in a discussion betweeen ministers.

"That is a qualitative difference."

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