Penny Mordaunt has been appointed defence secretary following the sacking of Gavin Williamson, Downing Street has said.
Mordaunt, the former international development secretary, will be the first woman to lead the Ministry of Defence.
Williamson was sacked by Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday evening following an investigation into a leak from a top-level meeting into the role of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in building Britain’s new 5G mobile network.
The leak last week from the National Security Council prompted a sweeping investigation by civil servants.
May wrote in a letter to Williamson that his conduct during the investigation “has not been of the same standard of others”.
“In our meeting this evening, I put to you the latest information from the investigation, which provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure,” May wrote.
“No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified.”
Rory Stewart, the prisons minister, will take over from Mordaunt at the Department for International Development (DfID).
Confirming Stewart’s promotion, Buckingham Palace said the Queen “has been pleased to approve the appointment of Rory Stewart OBE MP as Secretary of State for International Development”.
Who is Penny Mordaunt?
Mordaunt, 46, entered parliament as MP for Portsmouth North in 2010 after a stint as director of communications at Kensington and Chelsea Council and at the Conservative Party’s central office.
She rose to become minister for the armed forces in May 2015 before moving to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in July 2016.
The former aid worker joined DfID as secretary of state in November 2017.
Mordaunt may be familiar to TV viewers after taking part in the short-lived reality series Splash!, alongside Olympic diver Tom Daley, in 2014.
She donated her £10,000 appearance fee to charity, including to four armed forces organisations.
Mordaunt backed Brexit during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.