Huawei: Senior Tories want Huawei ‘ruled out’ of 5G plans

Sir Iain Duncan Smith Image copyright Reuters Image caption Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith wants the UK to rethink its decision

Senior Conservatives have written to Tory MPs to raise concerns about the government’s decision to allow Huawei to play a role in the UK’s 5G network.

In a letter, the group – which includes four ex-cabinet ministers – said there were alternatives to the Chinese firm.

They want “high-risk” vendors to be ruled out now, or phased out over time.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the decision followed a “rigorous” review by security experts and that Huawei’s involvement would be restricted.

The letter comes as US vice-president Mike Pence said the US was “profoundly disappointed” with the UK’s decision.

The letter from Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, David Davis, Damian Green, Tobias Ellwood and Bob Seely, which has been seen by the BBC, says some MPs were “working to find a better solution”.

“We are seeking to identify a means by which we ensure that only trusted vendors are allowed as primary contractors into our critical national infrastructure,” it says.

“Trusted vendors would be companies from countries that have fair market competition, rule of law, respect human rights, data privacy and non-coercive government agencies.”

‘Rule-out untrusted vendors’

The men say they want the government to “rule out hi-tech from untrusted, high-risk vendors” in the UK’s infrastructure, or to ensure future legislation includes “sunset clauses” to limit the length of time such companies can be used.

The UK government has said restrictions would be in place on Huawei’s role in the 5G network.

These include: banning Huawei from supplying kit to “sensitive parts” of the network, only allowing it to account for 35% of the kit in a network’s periphery, and excluding the firm’s equipment from areas near military bases and nuclear sites.

But Sir Iain told the BBC giving Huawei any stake at all was too much of a risk.

He said: “You have an organisation from a country that is an aggressor in terms of cyber warfare and a company that is clearly totally and utterly in the hands of the Chinese government who demand absolute obedience on these matters.”

He added it is “simply not manageable to have an organisation like that inside your important network” and Huawei’s involvement should therefore be “zero”.

Sir Iain and the other men behind the letter have also cited examples of other countries which they said had already rejected using Huawei in their 5G networks at all, including Australia, the US and Japan.

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