May Approves Huawei Involvement In 5g Network Despite Warnings

24 April 2019, 09:56 | Updated: 30 April 2019, 11:15

The Chinese tech giant has been given approval to build some parts of the UK 5g network.
The Chinese tech giant has been given approval to build some parts of the UK 5g network. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister has approved the participation of Huawei in some "non-core parts" of Britain’s 5G data network, but the Chinese tech giant has been banned from helping with sensitive core parts of the project.

The decision to allow Huawei access to the 5G network was reportedly agreed at the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, on Tuesday.

The American and Australian governments have both banned Huawei from providing components to build 5G networks in their countries.

Security experts have revealed fears that the Chinese manufacturer has close ties to the Chinese government, and that equipment could be vulnerable to state sponsored intelligence gathering.

Senior spies including the head of MI6 and GCHQ have warned publicly of the risks of allowing a Chinese firm access to the UK's critical communications network.

The decision is likely to lead to fresh tension with the US, which has banned Huawei from its government networks and urged others to do the same.

Downing Street refused to comment on the report.

Labour’s Shadow Digital Minister Liam Byrne said: “Our digital networks already lag well behind the world's best, yet the Government continues to dither over Huawei. We need clarity on the risks and costs of a decision either way and we need it now.

"We're at a fork in the road. If the Government thinks Huawei threatens our security, it needs to explain why and what it plans to do about it. 

“If it bans Huawei, telecoms companies are clear that 5G will be delayed for years and cost billions of pounds more. If that's the Government's choice then we need immediate clarity on what their Plan B is to give us the 5G network our future prosperity demands.” 

Huawei has always denied being controlled by the Chinese government, or that its work poses any risks of espionage and sabotage.

A spokesperson said they were "pleased that the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work, and we will continue to work cooperatively with the government, and the industry."