Nick Ferrari's tense interview with Huawei director on if we can trust them over 5G

29 January 2020, 07:48 | Updated: 29 January 2020, 07:51

Nick Ferrari grilled this senior Huawei director over why his Chinese company is considered a "high-risk vendor".

Ministers have insisted Huawei's involvement in the UK's 5G network will not affect Britain's security partnerships.

Boris Johnson gave the green light for the Chinese firm's technology to be used in non-core infrastructure - but no "sensitive parts" of the system.

That's despite severe concerns by a number of MPs, as well as the US, who have warned against involving Huawei with the project. One reason is the Chinese law compelling companies to give the government certain information.

Ed Brewster, the Communications Director of the company, insisted that the law had been mischaracterised.

Huawei are the market leaders in the 5G industry
Huawei are the market leaders in the 5G industry. Picture: PA

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, he said: "This law is quite similar to the laws enacted in other countries around legal intercepts - so this issue around companies requesting companies to supply data on citizens.

"That's our interpretation of the law. We've had independent law firms look at it and they've also agreed with that.

"The point here is that we sell our equipment to our customers, the telecoms operators. They own and operate it. We cannot provide any access to that equipment subsequently or access that equipment subsequently without the permission of our customers.

"To do so would be in breach of our contract with our customers and in breach of UK law. In 30 years of operating, in 20 years in Europe, in 15 years in the UK, there's never been any evidence that any of our kit has ever been used in that way.

"We're a Chinese company, yes. But we're not Chinese spies. We supply telecoms network equipment."

Nick Ferrari grilled this Huawei minister over whether we can trust them
Nick Ferrari grilled this Huawei minister over whether we can trust them. Picture: LBC

But Nick asked him why the government has restricted access to non-sensitive sites and a limited market share if there are no issues, saying: "It's a bit like saying you can come round to my house, but don't let him near the family silver in case he nicks it. That is essentially what he's saying."

Mr Brewster insisted: "We're not interested in the family silver. We're interested in providing good connectivity.

"The BTs, the Vodafones of this world, they buy our kit because we're the best in the world."