National Security Council to look at Huawei 5G conditions, minister confirms
The National Security Council will look at the conditions of Chinese tech giant Huawei being involved in the UK’s 5G rollout, a Cabinet minister has confirmed.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the National Security Council will “look at those conditions and make the right decision”, after it was reported that the UK is poised to end the use of Huawei technology in its 5G network as soon as this year amid security concerns.
Mr Hancock did not deny that the Government is set to do a U-turn on Huawei’s involvement, adding that he “wouldn’t comment on leaks of that kind”.
His comments come as Sunday’s newspapers suggested that Boris Johnson is set to strike a major policy change after GCHQ is believed to have reassessed the risks posed by the Chinese tech company.
A study set to be presented to Mr Johnson this week will declare that US sanctions on Huawei will force the company to use technology that is “untrusted”, reports said.
A report by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre has decided the US sanctions barring Huawei from using technology relying on American intellectual property has had a “severe” impact on the firm, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The newspaper stated that officials are crafting proposals to prevent new Huawei equipment being installed in the 5G network in as little as six months.
Speaking on Sky’s Ridge on Sunday, Mr Hancock said: “I wouldn’t comment on leaks of that kind.
“What I can say though, is that when we came out with an interim report on this earlier in the year, there were a number of conditions that needed to be met.
“So I’m sure that the National Security Council will look at those conditions and make the right decision on this to make sure that we have both a very strong telecoms infrastructure… but also that it is secure.
“We have been looking very closely at this.”
The Prime Minister’s decision to allow Huawei a limited roll in Britain’s 5G network is believed to have caused tension between London and Washington DC in recent months.
The involvement of the Chinese tech firm in Britain’s 5G network also caused concern among a number of prominent figures on the Conservative backbenches.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the National Cyber Security Centre was instructed to carry out a review on the situation.
It also reported the organisation found that US sanctions had a major impact on the firm’s viability, the newspaper said.