Penny Mordaunt becomes UK first ever female defence secretary

Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as defence secretary after Theresa May sacked Gavin Williamson over the unprecedented Huawei leak.

The former international development secretary becomes the first woman to hold the position, and will continue to serve as minister for women and equalities. 

The appointment follows the dramatic decision of the prime minister to sack Mr Williamson from the government after she launched a leak inquiry to probe the disclosure of confidential information from a National Security Council meeting.

Former prisons minister Rory Stewart will replace Ms Mordaunt as international development secretary – the individual responsible for overseeing Britain’s foreign aid budget. 

In a statement, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of the defence secretary and as a member of her cabinet.

“The prime minister’s decision has been informed by his conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council.”

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