Conservative MPs to back amendment on Huawei 5G contract

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on March 10th 2020, 8:08am

A number of senior Tory MPs are set to back an amendment on Tuesday which would bar Huawei’s participation in the rollout of 5G in the UK from the end of 2022.

It leaves prime minister Boris Johnson with the prospect of facing his first rebellion in Parliament since his general election triumph in December.

Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network had received government approval in January, but its share in the network was capped at 35 per cent.

The amendment would end the involvement of the controversial Chinese firm entirely by December 31 2022.

The concerns aired by the group of MPs, headed by Iain Duncan Smith, centre around Huawei’s ties to the Chinese state and the impact of using a "high-risk vendor" on national security.

The group has said that around 30 Conservatives could support the amendment to the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, but it is unlikely to win given the government's majority of 80 MPs.

The government is said to have held a number of meetings between GCHQ security officials and concerned MPs on Monday to ease the worries, reiterating that Huawei will not be granted access to the more sensitive parts of the network.

Downing Street insisted following a security briefing on Monday that the government's cyber security advisers were satisfied with the Huawei strategy, and that using the firm would not compromise intelligence sharing between the UK and its allies, including the US.

The Trump administration, which has implemented a ban on Huawei in stateside networks, has been hugely critical of the UK stance on Huawei and called upon the government more than once to reconsider its position.

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Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
March 10th 2020, 8:08am

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