Huawei: 5G decision to be made ‘within weeks’, says culture secretary

'I will be discussing that with the prime minister and if there’s any change of policy arising from it I will make an announcement,' says Oliver Dowden

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Monday 06 July 2020 09:32
Comments

Oliver Dowden has said any change to Huawei’s role in developing the UK’s 5G mobile network will be announced within weeks, as he suggested an intelligence report found US sanctions have had a “significant impact” on the company’s reliability.

The culture secretary’s remarks come amid reports Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to strip the Chinese telecommunications giant’s access to the mobile network in a major shift in government policy.

The prime minister gave the green light to Huawei earlier this year – despite an explosive diplomatic row with Donald Trump’s administration – but there has been growing unease in Conservative ranks over the company’s access to the 5G network.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Dowden confirmed he had received a report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on Huawei’s suitability in the wake of severe sanctions on the firm from the US.

According to The Sunday Times, the report will claim the sanctions will force the company to use technology that is “untrusted”.

Quizzed on the issue on LBC radio, the cabinet minister went on: “In relation to Huawei, we’ve had these US sanctions that were imposed a couple of months ago. I’ve asked the National Cyber Security Centre to analyse the impact of them.

“It seems likely they’re going to have a significant impact on the reliability of Huawei, I’ve just received that advice, I will be discussing that with the prime minister and if there’s any change of policy arising from it I will make an announcement.”

He added: “I would certainly aim to do that before Parliament rises for the summer recess, so later this month.”

In a separate interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Dowden said: “Yes, I have (received the National Cyber Security Centre report) and with my officials we’re now examining it and understanding the implications of it.”

“The point of commissioning this advice from the NCSC is to understand the implications of the US sanctions. Clearly the US sanctions will present challenges and that is what that advice is about.”

In an article, the former head of MI6, Sir John Sawers said the UK had “found a reasonable balance in limiting” the company’s role in the 5G network when the prime minister gave the company go ahead in January.

But writing in the Financial Times added: “The Trump administration’s motives for trying to destroy Huawei can be debated. But the latest US sanctions, at the end of June and last week, mean that reliable non-Chinese suppliers to Huawei can no longer work with the company.

"UK intelligence services can therefore no longer provide the needed assurances that Chinese-made equipment is still safe to use in the UK’s telecoms network."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in