One of the major agreements reached between China and the UK in recent months was the Huawei deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed the Chinese technology company to play a part in building the UK’s 5G network with a limited role. Under the plans, it will only be allowed to account for 35 percent of the kit in a network’s periphery, which includes radio masts. Huawei will also be excluded from areas near military bases and nuclear sites amid security concerns.
But, since then, trust in the Chinese government has evaporated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in which Beijing was accused of secrecy in the early stages of the global crisis.
And more fuel has been added to the fire by China’s actions in Hong Kong, as the UK has accused the communist power of breaking the 1997 treaty.
Now, it appears Boris Johnson is going to cut Huawei out of the UK’s network altogether.
He is aiming to do this by 2029 according to reports, but Conservative Party rebels have claimed this is happening too slowly.
A leaked GCHQ report has raised new security issues with Huawei technology being used in the UK, and is likely to force Boris Johnson to abandon the company entirely.
The report suggests that new US sanctions on Huawei will force the company to use untrusted technology that could increase the risk to the UK.
A group of 60 Tory MPs who are concerned about Huawei say the Government must commit to replacing all Huawei kit before the end of the current parliament, which is set to finish in 2024.
They have threatened to undermine Mr Johnson’s plans for government by amending every bill that passes through the Commons with anti-China clauses until he agrees.
One concerned MP is Andrew Bridgen, who has previously been supportive of Mr Johnson on issues such as Brexit.
But the MP for North West Leicestershire told Express.co.uk that the Prime Minister had a lapse in judgement over the Huawei affair.
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However, Mr Bridgen warns that if Prime Minister Johnson expands ties with China, the UK’s post-Brexit success could be “looking bleak” as Commonwealth allies turn their backs on Britain.
He added: “I think the biggest stumbling block is our trade links with China, which I think we should loosen.
“Ultimately, with Huawei, the security services have said they can manage the security risk.
“But I said to them ‘fine, you can persuade me, but come back when you have persuaded the Americans, the Canadians, the Australians and the New Zealanders’.
“If you can’t do that it doesn’t matter because we lose those vital security links.
“We need free trade agreements with them as well as security ties, and clearly our relationship with China infringes on our chances to get these free trade agreements.”
A source close to the group of Tory rebels told the Telegraph it was “unconscionable” that the Tories could fight the next election with Huawei equipment still in use in the UK.
They said: “The Government can forget about its legislative agenda until it’s sorted out the China question.”