Boris Johnson has banned the purchase of new 5G equipment from Chinese technology firm Huawei from December 31 in the latest government U-turn.
The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the National Security Council today, after which Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden outlined the details of the decision in a Commons statement.
From next year, telecoms firms will be banned from purchasing new 5G equipment from Huawei and will be ordered to shift away from the purchase of Huawei’s equipment for full-fibre broadband networks over a period lasting up to two years.
Huawei’s equipment will be stripped from the UK’s 5G network by 2027, adding millions to the cost and delaying the delivery of the high-speed mobile network.
Mr Dowden told MPs that “keeping the country secure is the primary duty of a government to its people”.
He added: “There is of course no such thing as a perfectly secure network, but the responsibility of the Government is to ensure that it is as secure as it possibly can be.”
It is a major U-turn after the government granted limited access to Huawei in January to help build the high speed network in Britain.
The firm’s involvement has long been controversial, with warnings that Huawei’s equipment could be used by China for espionage or to disrupt the UK’s critical national infrastructure.
Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “Whoever carries out this work is effectively going to get a few billion pounds to develop the next generation and the generation after that and I would rather put that money towards companies that we can trust.
“I'm not the first person to describe Huawei as a high risk vendor, the government did that so i think we should treat it as it is rather than pretending its something it's not.”
talkRADIO: Listen live