Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is considering terminating the role of Chinese technology giant Huawei’s role in the development of the UK’s 5G network even before it began.
The PM’s apparent change of heart follows months of intense lobbying by anti-Chinese elements in the Tory party who have tried to exploit the coronavirus crisis to downgrade British ties with Beijing.
The Telegraph is reporting today that the PM has “instructed” officials to draw up plans that would see China’s role in the UK’s 5G network “scaled down to zero” by 2023.
According to the Telegraph, Johnson’s imminent decision is at least in part motivated by a desire to “ramp up” trade talks with the US following faltering post-Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
Meanwhile, the Guardian (May 22) reports that the PM has been “forced” to back down in the face of a determined backbench rebellion opposed to Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network.
Johnson originally agreed to a “limited” role for Huawei in late January whereby the Chinese technology giant would be barred from the 5G network’s “core” and limited to only 35 percent of the “periphery”.
But the Tory rebels vowed to carry on opposing any involvement by the Chinese in the 5G network even after their first attempt at sabotage – in the form of the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill – was defeated in the House of Commons in early March.