Boris Johnson ‘braces for last-minute demand from Donald Trump’ for Britain to block Chinese tech giant Huawei from 5G project
- Boris Johnson is braced for last-minute demand from Donald Trump on Huawei
- PM has suggested he will push ahead saying UK ‘deserves the best technology’
- US officials have warned it would be ‘madness’ to give Chinese firm role in 5G
Boris Johnson is bracing for a last-ditch demand from Donald Trump for Britain to block Huawei from the 5G project.
Downing Street expects a call from the President by the end of the week amid high-level US opposition to the Chinese tech firm getting a role in the phone network upgrade.
Earlier this week American officials warned the move would be ‘madness’, saying it would be a security risk that could jeopardise intelligence sharing between the close transatlantic allies.
But Mr Johnson used an interview to suggest he is still minded to go ahead, insisting Washington needed to ‘tell us what the alternative is’.
The White House has gathered a dossier to brief Mr Trump ready for a call to the PM in the coming days, according to the Daily Telegraph.
UK government sources have cautioned that shutting Huawei out of the project completely could push up costs for consumers and delay completion by years.
Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) has said he does not want to compromise on security but insisted Britain ‘deserved the best technology’
Downing Street expects a call from Donald Trump by the end of the week amid high-level US opposition to the Chinese tech firm getting a role in the phone network upgrade
A decision on 5G is expected later this month during a meeting of the National Security Council.
The PM will be given two options – block Huawei entirely, or allow it access to ‘non-core kit’ only such as antennae.
US officials warned earlier this week that Britain could see its ‘sovereignty under threat’. They also said the UK’s intelligence-sharing relationship with America could be cut off.
Mr Trump is said to be ‘concerned’ about the prospect of Britain using Huawei because he ‘doesn’t want anything to come between’ him and Mr Johnson.
But British officials have raised concerns that blocking Huawei could lead to higher bills for consumers and delay the introduction of 5G.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: ‘I have talked about infrastructure and technology. We want to put in gigabit broadband for everybody.
‘Now, if people oppose one brand or another, then they have to tell us which is the alternative.
‘On the other hand, let’s be clear, I don’t, as the UK Prime Minister, want to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to co-operate with Five Eyes intelligence.’
Six US officials, including deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, flew to the UK on Monday.
The team was sent to lobby the Government, believing there is still time to persuade Mr Johnson to block Huawei.
In a briefing following talks with Cabinet ministers, one official said it would ‘be nothing less than madness to allow Huawei to get into next generation tele- communication networks and vacuum up personal data’.
Huawei has flatly denied that its involvement would pose a security risk.
A decision on 5G is expected later this month during a meeting of the National Security Council, with Huawei involvement a possibility