The Daily Mail has cited unnamed sources as saying that senior representatives of the UK’s intelligence chiefs from MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre are due to tell Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this day that Huawei should not be prevented from taking part in developing Britain’s 5G mobile phone network.
At a forthcoming meeting of the National Security Council, the representatives are expected to allay concerns that Huawei’s participation in the UK’s 5G network development poses a threat to the country’s sovereignty, according to the sources.
The claims come as The Telegraph reported that during the Tuesday meeting, Johnson may announce that his country will grant Huawei access to build parts of its 5G network, in the face of opposition from the US and some of the UK Prime Minister’s most senior MPs.
The report followed Johnson arguing on Monday that the decision would be a “strategic win” for Britain and that UK consumers deserved access to “fantastic technology”.
He stressed that Huawei would be barred from the "core" parts of the British 5G network and that he would never make a decision that could “jeopardise” his country’s security relationship with the US.
Johnson was echoed by Culture Minister Matt Warman, who underscored that the UK would “never take a decision that threatens our national security or the security of our allies”.
The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, for his part said that he has "no reason to think" the UK's intelligence relationship with America will suffer if Britain decides to adopt the Chinese company Huawei’s technology in its 5G network.
Senior MPS Voice Concern Over Huawei’s Participation in UK’s 5G Development
Earlier this month, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said it was "utterly bizarre" to give the go-ahead for Huawei’s involvement in building 5G in the UK when “there is a cyber war going on at which China is arguably the single biggest participant”.
Tory member Tom Tugendhat likened the move to “nesting a dragon into our critical national infrastructure”, while his colleague Owen Paterson said the situation was "absolutely extraordinary”.
If the government “know there is a risk of losing key intelligence from our closest allies, what is the overwhelming advantage of this equipment if we are looking to take this risk?”, he said.
Washington has long been urging its European partners to exclude Huawei from participating in national 5G rollouts, citing security concerns amid accusations that the company allegedly spies on behalf of the Chinese government, something that has been strongly denied both by Beijing and Huawei executives.
Despite the fact that the US blacklisted Huawei and 68 of its subsidiaries from doing business with American companies in May 2019, a spate of US partners, including Germany and France, have been reluctant to follow suit.