BORIS Johnson is set to phase out the use of Huawei technology in Britain’s 5G network this year, according to reports.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has performed a major u-turn and reconsidered its view that any potential risks to national security posed by the Chinese firm can be safely dealt with, reports the Telegraph.
The newspaper claims an advisory report, due to be presented to the PM this week, is expected to conclude that US sanctions on the tech giant will force the company to use unsecured technology platforms.
It is thought the sanctions – which ban Huawei from using technology relying on American-owned intellectual property – have had a “severe” impact on the company.
It follows Mr Johnson in January allowing Huawei to build parts of the UK 5G network – which prompted backlash from Tory MPs calling for the company to be banned on security grounds.
As part of the about-turn, security officials are said to be drawing up proposals to stop installing new Huawei equipment in Britain’s 5G network in as little as six months.
According to the reports, it will also speed up the removal of technology that is already in place – with Whitehall said to be looking at the “ramifications” of existing Huawei equipment in other national infrastructures separate from 5G.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to provide formal advice – as well as the new NCSC report – to Mr Johnson as soon as this week.
The Prime Minister is likely to then call a meeting of the National Security Council to finalise a new strategy before announcing the measures in Parliament later this month.
A Huawei spokesman told the Telegraph: “Huawei is the most scrutinised vendor in the world and we firmly believe our unrivalled transparency in the UK means we can continue to be trusted to play a part in Britain’s gigabit upgrade.
“It’s important to focus on facts and not to speculate at this time.”
Nato’s chief Jens Stoltenburg previously warned China was changing the global balance of power – and urged like minded countries to stand up to what he called “bullying and coercion”.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair also urged Mr Johnson to ditch Huawei from Britain’s 5G network in a bid to preserve Britain’s security relationship with the US.
The former PM said No.10 should prioritise trans-Atlantic ties over saving money by using the Chinese telecoms giant.