Tom Swarbrick confronts Huawei spokesman over how China will respond to UK ban

15 July 2020, 08:51 | Updated: 15 July 2020, 08:58

By Fiona Jones

LBC's Tom Swarbrick confronts Huawei spokesman over how the Chinese government will respond to the UK's blanket ban.

The government has banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from the UK's 5G infrastructure with a plan to remove all kit by 2027, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced yesterday.

Chinese state media has said that "painful retaliation is on the way" for the UK, with the Chinese ambassador warning there would be "consequences" if the country was not treated as an ally.

When confronted on this response, Huawei spokesman Ed Brewster told LBC's Tom Swarbrick that this decision is "bad news for anyone in the UK" with a phone or broadband connection because it will "move Britain in to the digital slow lane."

"Our objective is to be a responsible business, to continue to support our customers as we've always done. We've been here over twenty years, we've focused on building a better connected UK," Mr Brewster said.

Tom pushed Mr Brewster to clarify whether Huawei would disagree with the approach of painful retaliation, to which he said that was a question for the Chinese government.

"What's clear here is this is about US trade policy this is not about security," Mr Brewster said.

Tom Swarbrick pushed Huawei to answer about involvement with Chinese government
Tom Swarbrick pushed Huawei to answer about involvement with Chinese government. Picture: PA/LBC

Tom confronted Mr Brewster on the links between Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party.

"What we've said consistently is there is no security threat...there's never been any evidence that any of our kit has ever been used by any Government for espionage," he said, emphasising that Huawei is an "open business."

Tom grilled Mr Brewster on the history of the founder Ren Zhengfei who served in the Peoples' Liberation Army, to which Mr Brewster responded that "everyone in the seventies" did in China. He reiterated that there is no evidence Huawei is a high risk vendor.

He did admit there was some funding from the government but "only in the normal funding you get around research and development which is a fraction of our overall funding."

Mr Brewster told LBC Huawei are "in a propaganda campaign with the US government" and reiterated "there is no evidence of any espionage...we've been here twenty years.

"It's a disappointing decision and it's bad nwes for the people of Britain."