The Latest: Fired UK defense chief denies tie to Huawei leak

LONDON — The Latest on Britain firing its defense minister (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Gavin Williamson, the U.K. defense chief fired for leaking security information, has denied any involvement in the leak from a secret government meeting about the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei.

In a letter posted on his Twitter account, Williamson says he was confident that a formal and thorough inquiry would vindicate him. He says he appreciated being offered a chance 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."

In a letter to Williamson, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she "can no longer have full confidence" in Williamson in the wake of the investigation. In the letter released by her office, May told Williamson that there was "compelling evidence" suggesting his "responsibility for the unauthorized disclosure" from the National Security Council.

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5:55 p.m.

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has been summarily fired after an investigation into leaks from a secret government meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.

In a letter Wednesday to the 42-year-old Williamson, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she "can no longer have full confidence" in Williamson in the wake of the investigation.

In the letter released by Downing St., May told Williamson that there was "compelling evidence" suggesting his "responsibility for the unauthorized disclosure" from the National Security Council.

Williamson denied he was the source of the leak in a letter posted on Twitter.

Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, has been appointed as Williamson's replacement. She becomes the first woman to hold the post.

An investigation was launched last week after British newspapers reported that the security council, which meets in private, had agreed to let Huawei participate in some aspects of Britain's new 5G wireless communications network. The government insists no decision has been made about Huawei.

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