Author: Tronserve admin
Wednesday 4th August 2021 01:50 PM
Huawei: Government Tries to Head Off Tory 5G Network Rebellion
The government made a last-ditch attempt on Monday to head off a potential Conservative rebellion over the Chinese telecoms provider Huawei, drafting in a security expert to try to reassure anxious MPs.
Tories were invited to a meeting in parliament with Dr Ian Levy, the technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre, as party grandees try to amend a telecommunications bill in an effort to ensure the use of Huawei’s equipment in the UK’s 5G broadband network would be phased out by the end of 2022.
Comments on a Huawei WhatsApp group that includes 38 Tory MPs are said to have reignited over the weekend as more and more politicians sounded warnings over the government’s decision to permit the firm to operate in the country.
Levy’s briefing came 24 hours before the former party leader Iain Duncan Smith and former cabinet ministers Damian Green, Owen Paterson and David Davis will try to amend the telecommunications infrastructure (leasehold property) bill.
The Speaker has not yet selected the amendment, but MPs expect names to be added before the bill is put to parliament on Tuesday.
The government’s decision to allow Huawei a role in the 5G network could be a significant test for Boris Johnson’s 80-seat majority.
If the amendment is selected, there could be up to 40 names attached, a Tory source suggested, including some of the 2019 general election intake.
The US president, Donald Trump, has made it known he is deeply unhappy with the UK’s decision to give Huawei a limited role in the UK’s 5G network.
Australia and New Zealand, which along with the US, UK and Canada, make up the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership, have banned the company from their telecoms networks over security concerns based on its links to the Chinese government.
Asked about the proposed amendment, the prime minister’s official spokesman told journalists at a briefing on Monday that the government would eventually like to not to use any Huawei technology in the UK telecoms network.
“We are clear-eyed about the challenges posed by Huawei, which is why we are banning them from sensitive and critical parts of the network and setting a strict 35% cap on market share,” he said.
“We will also keep that 35% market cap under review. We want to get to a position where we do not want to have to use a high-risk vendor in our telecoms network.”
Duncan Smith has said the UK risks isolating itself if it continues with plans to go forward with Huawei because the government has acknowledged that it is a high-risk vendor.
He told the BBC: “I think therefore we need to get the government to look to get the involvement of Huawei not to 35% but to 0%. There is real concern across the floor of the house.”
Johnson agreed in January that the firm could be used to provide the UK’s 5G infrastructure in noncore parts of the network, but will be barred from sensitive nuclear and military sites.