Government U-turn on Huawei could be made before summer recess, says Culture Secretary

6 July 2020, 11:13 | Updated: 6 July 2020, 11:27

By Seán Hickey

A state investigation into Huawei coming off the back of US sanctions brought up doubts on the reliability of the telecoms giant.

Over the weekend the government announced plans to phase out Huawei from the UK's 5G network. Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden spoke to Nick Ferrari to explain how the government came to its decision on the Chinese company.

"We've had those US sanctions imposed a couple of months ago" Mr Dowden began. "I've asked the national cyber security centre to analyse the impact of them, it seems like they're going to have an impact on the reliability of Huawei.

"I've just received that advice, I'll be discussing that with the Prime Minister." He told Nick. He reminded listeners that nothing is set in stone just yet and that decisions need to be made of when, and if the UK will start to remove the Chinese telecom company from our network.

"If there's any change of policy arising from it, I will make an announcement to the House of Commons."

Huawei had been in the news for close ties with the Chinese government
Huawei had been in the news for close ties with the Chinese government. Picture: PA

Nick took up the Culture Secretary on this point, highlighting that he "understood it's very time critical" to get Huawei out of British 5G infrastructure to get on with the process.

He wondered when the public can expect a development on the story, which Mr Dowden said would come "before summer recess" later in the month.

Nick chimed in again to point out that the news is "quite a U-turn" for the government, who had stood by the decision to allow Huawei to build the UK's 5G infrastructure, although some damning reports came out about the telecoms giant in the meantime.

Mr Dowden doubled down on the current stance of the government. "We've set out the approach to high-risk spenders of which Huawei is the main one." He said.

"Clearly there are some further issues that the sanctions have highlighted about the reliability of the equipment. We need to work through that and then we'll announce the consequences of that."