Ministers under pressure over Huawei 5G involvement

Written by Hannah McGrath
21/01/2019

Government ministers are expected to come under further pressure this week to sideline Chinese telecoms firm Huawei from 5G infrastructure projects over spying concerns.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, the chairman of the science and technology committee, is set to write to Jeremy Wright, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, to reveal whether the UK will take action to bar Huawei from involvement in next generation telecoms networks.

According to the Times newspaper, Lamb is planning to cite moves already taken by America, New Zealand and Australia - the UK’s allies in the Five Eyes intelligence group - to restrict Huawei in the UK’s plans to upgrade mobile and infrastructure networks.

“These are vitally important security issues, we need to establish whether there is a threat,” Lamb said.

Huawei has insisted the fears are unfounded. Last week, founder and president Ren Zhengfei said his company had never been asked by a government to hand over information in violation of regulations.

The new campaign comes after Oxford University announced that it would no longer accept donations or research funding from Huawei.

Germany and Norway are also among countries debating whether to follow suit as they prepare for the transfer to 5G networks.

Last Thursday, Handelsblatt newspaper reported that the German government has yet to decide on concrete steps to take, but could tighten security requirements in order to block use of the company's technology.

Huawei has not responded to a request for comment.