Cabinet ministers will be asked to provide details of their mobile phones and surrender them for inspection as part of an investigation into a leak of the decision by the UK National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, to allow Huawei's partial involvement in the development of Britain's future 5G network, The Daily Telegraph reported.
They were also reportedly asked if they had spoken to The Daily Telegraph before the news outlet broke the story on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, Gavin Barwell, May's chief of staff, warned that if anyone is found to be responsible for the major security breach, they "will not be a member of the Government for much longer".
Following the exposure of the sensitive information, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid vehemently denied that they might be behind the leak.
The inquiry was ordered after The Telegraph broke the news that the prime minister had green-lit Huawei to bid for “non core” 5G infrastructure, despite objections from Cabinet ministers including Javid, Hunt, Williamson, Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, and Trade Secretary Liam Fox.
"My understanding from London [is] that an investigation has been announced. I think it is very important that we get to the bottom of what happened here", Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Friday.
In a parallel development, reports are flooding in that the US is preparing to put further pressure on the UK government to reconsider the decision on Huawei.
The United States, New Zealand, and Australia have already banned Huawei from developing their 5G networks, citing security threats. Washington has also been lobbying its European allies to follow in its footsteps and introduce similar restrictions, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatening to stop sharing intelligence with countries that use Huawei equipment.
In early December, top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver, Canada, at the behest of the United States, reportedly on suspicions of conspiring to violate Washington’s sanctions against Iran.
The arrest, which took place amid an ongoing US-China trade war, was condemned by both Huawei and China’s authorities. Beijing demanded that Ottawa immediately release the Chinese national, while the company maintained that Wanzhou had done nothing illegal.