/Boris Johnson faces major Conservative party rebellion on Huawei – Business Insider
Boris Johnson faces major Conservative party rebellion on Huawei - Business Insider

Boris Johnson faces major Conservative party rebellion on Huawei – Business Insider


  • Conservative MPs are stepping up their campaign to eliminate Huawei from the UK’s 5g network.
  • Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans to phase out the Chinese telecoms firm by 2029.
  • However, a sizeable group of MPs in Johnson’s Conservative party want Huawei removed by 2023.
  • Those MPs are reportedly threatening to launch a sustained campaign of rebellion in Parliament.
  • The ex-head of the MI6 on Monday said that the UK should exclude Huawei from its infrastructure.
  • US sanctions on the Huawei mean it poses an even greater risk to UK security, an official security report is set to warn.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Boris Johnson faces a sustained campaign of rebellion from dozens of his own Members of Parliament until he agrees to accelerate the removal of the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei from the UK’s 5G network.
The UK prime minister is expected to reverse his to decision to grant Huawei a limited but significant role in developing the UK’s 5G, amid growing hostility towards the firm and China within his Conservative party.
Johnson is expected to this month set out plans to phase out Huawei from the UK network, according to The Financial Times, with a report by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre set to warn that US sanctions on the company mean it poses an increased risk to UK security.
The sanctions recently introduced by the Trump administration are designed to stop Huawei using US-produced equipment to make semiconductors. This has created concern in London that the Chinese telecoms firm would turn to different technology with an additional security risk.
Johnson’s UK government currently intends to reduce Huawei’s participation in the UK network over time before eventually removing the firm altogether by the year 2029, according to multiple recent reports.
However, a significant number of Conservative MPs want the prime minister to accelerate this process by committing to eliminating Huawei from the UK network by 2023. They argue that Huawei should not have a role in the UK network when Britain next goes to the polls for its next general election in 2024.
Around 60 Conservative MPs are threatening to thwart Johnson’s legislative agenda if he does not agree to do so, The Telegraph reports.
They plan to do this by tabling amendments on Huawei and China on multiple pieces of legislation put before the House of Commons until the Johnson agrees to take a more aggressive approach to Huawei, the newspaper says.
The UK prime minister riled MPs in the Conservative party when he struck a deal with Huawei earlier this year.
In March, he experienced a rebellion from Conservative MPs — and the first real challenge to his power since winning the UK’s general election in December — when almost 40 voted against his government in Parliament.
Opposition to the deal has grown since then, with a numerous Conservative MPs setting up a parliamentary bloc called The China Research Group that is calling for the UK government to loosen ties with Beijing.

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.


Getty

Johnson’s decision also angered allies in the White House, with President Trump hanging up on him in an “apoplectic” phone call. The US warned that the deal with Huawei would give China a back door into western intelligence sharing.
Iain Duncan Smith, a senior Conservative who is among MPs leading calls for Johnson to take a more aggressive approach towards Huawei, said the plan to phase out the company by no sooner than 2029 was “unacceptable.”
He told The Times of London: “It means essentially that companies will still be able to go ahead with Huawei. It needs to be out of our system before the end of this parliament.”
Duncan Smith and the other Conservative MPs calling for tougher action against Huawei have been boosted by an intervention from ex-MI6 head Sir John Sawers.
Writing for the Financial Times, Sawers said that decision of the Trump administration to stop Huawei using US components meant that the UK would have to exclude the telecomms firm from its networks.
“The Trump administration’s motives for trying to destroy Huawei can be debated,” he wrote.
“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.”
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman on Monday confirmed that the government was reviewing the deal.
“We have been considering the impact of the additional sanctions by the US government placed on Huawei and the impact it could have in turn on the UK network. It is an ongoing process and we’ll update further in due course,” he said.
The Chinese ambassador to the UK warned on Monday that any attempt to scrap the deal would have “consequences” for Britain.
“We want to be your friend. We want to be your partner. But if you want to make China a hostile country, you will have to bear the consequences,” Liu Xiaoming told reporters, according to Reuters.
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