UK's Huawei ban heavily influenced by American sanctions - Former Culture Secretary

14 July 2020, 16:53

By Seán Hickey

The government's decision to ban Huawei from the UK's 5G network came to be because of American sanctions on the company.

Shelagh Fogarty was discussing the government's decision to phase out Huawei from the UK's 5G infrastructure completely by 2027. She was joined by Jeremy Wright, who is former Culture Secretary and formerly sat on the National Security Council.

Rumours have swirled about the role the US has had in the decision, as Huawei was recently the victim of sanctions by America due to ties with the Chinese Communist Party.

Shelagh wondered whether "Donald Trump forced Boris Johnson's hand" in banning Huawei, whereby Mr Wright said that "it's no doubt that the American sanctions are the factor that has changed all this."

He didn't see the influence as a problem, reminding Shelagh that "you can't make decisions divorced from the realities of the supply chain, so I think this is just realism on the part of the government" and staying aware of global business developments.

Mr Wright observed that the Chinese government are at the centre of concerns rather than the company Huawei. "It's what's happening in Hong Kong, its the Chinese approach to human rights, all these things have a bearing over our relationship with China and it changes overtime."

The government announced plans to have Huawei out of the UK's 5G infrastructure by 2027
The government announced plans to have Huawei out of the UK's 5G infrastructure by 2027. Picture: PA

Mr Wright also assured Shelagh that "we do want to maintain an economic relationship with China" and believed that the relationship will continue despite the news.

"Of course it's sensible for the UK government to put national security first, and that's what they've done today" he said.

The former Culture Secretary said that the government's Huawei ban is "a perfectly sensible response" not only after US sanctions but also from "the advice they're getting from security services."

He added that when the US, being one of the UK's closest allies, imposed sanctions on the company "it changes completely the way you need to look at Huawei equipment."