Britain’s Digital Minister, Oliver Dowden, told parliament today that the government was not in a position to set out a specific date to exclude high-risk vendors, namely China’s Huawei and ZTE, from Britain’s 5G network, but that MPs would be given a say over new laws.
National Security Council decision
“We’re not in a position today to set out a specific date or timetable for reaching no high-risk vendors, that would require a new decision to be taken by the National Security Council,” Dowden told parliament, according to source, Reuters.
Reuters reports that Dowden went on to say the UK government would work with other “five eyes” intelligence partners to develop new supply chain capacity during the course of the parliament – due to end in 2024. He said the government would allow MPs to air their concerns before new legislation was introduced on telecommunications security.
Pressure on the UK government to change its decision to allow the Chinese technology giant a limited role in the UK’s 5G network has been mounting for some time.
Now, a group of Conservatives have threatened to rebel against the government over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei a role in building the UK’s 5G network, unless ministers commit to an end date.
Last week, via an unusual letter, twenty Republican and Democratic US senators urged members of the House of Commons to reconsider the UK government’s decision to allow Huawei to be a supplier for the country’s 5G mobile network.
And earlier this week we reported that Britain’s parliamentary defence committee said that it will investigate the security of the country’s 5G networks and that the government has requested evidence submissions.