British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently reviewing a report on implementing 5G technology in the country, opening up a clear possibility to remove Huawei from the UK’s wireless network infrastructure.
As a report published by The Telegraph indicated, the policy change is expected to be systematically implemented after the National Cyber Security Center at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) reviewed an earlier assurance on the risks posed by Huawei.
The conclusions in the document issued by the GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Center, determine that sanctions prohibiting Huawei from using technology that depends on U.S. intellectual property, have had a “severe” impact on the company, significantly changing its calculations.
This is because the Chinese company, not having been allowed to use U.S.-made components in the implementation of the service, would force the UK government to think about the use of “unreliable” technology and take a risk that might be impossible to manage.
5G network in the UK
According to Forbes, for now several British officials are working on proposals to prevent new Huawei equipment from being installed on the 5G network in just six months, as well as eliminating Huawei equipment already in place.
A source in Whitehall [government row] told The Sunday Times that the sanctions implemented against Huawei by the United States “fundamentally changes the calculation” about the company, putting the UK at greater risk.
“The U.S. sanctions on Huawei are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” said the source, who then noted, “The company is forbidden from using American intellectual property (IP) in its semi-conductors—they can’t even use tools to make new semi-conductors if those tools use American IP.”
A Huawei spokesman responded that the company was the most scrutinized supplier in the world, emphasizing that it was confident in the transparency of the processes it had carried out in the UK, and that it was therefore possible to continue to rely on its participation in the implementation of the 5G network.
Terminating Huawei partnership in UK
The decision that would now be reversed by Johnson would be the result of a campaign that has been insisted upon by the Conservative members of Parliament, his own party, to cut ties with Huawei.
According to Business Insider, Conservative MPs want the prime minister to speed up the process of eliminating the Chinese technology company by 2023 at the latest, arguing that Huawei should not have a role in the UK’s network when Britain goes to the polls for its next general election in 2024.
About 60 Conservative MPs are threatening to interfere with Johnson’s legislative agenda if their demands are not accepted, by making amendments to Huawei and the CCP through the implementation of multiple laws introduced in the House of Commons.
Earlier this year Johnson reached an agreement with the company that he would seek to gradually implement the 5G network in the UK, which was rejected by Conservative MPs.
In March, nearly 40 members of his party voted against his government’s measures in Parliament, resulting in the first real challenge to his power since he won the UK general election in December 2019.
Johnson’s decisions have also caused unrest among his allies in the White House under President Donald Trump, who warned that the deal with Huawei would give the CCP a back door for the exchange of Western intelligence.
Iain Duncan Smith, a senior conservative who is among the parliamentarians who oppose the prime minister’s implementation of an open agreement with Huawei, said the plan to phase out the technology company by 2029 was “unacceptable.”
“It means essentially that companies will still be able to go ahead with Huawei. It needs to be out of our system before the end of this Parliament,” Smith said, as reported by The Times of London.