A group of leading Tories, led by four former cabinet ministers, have signed a letter citing concerns about Huawei’s role in the development of the UK’s 5G network.
In the letter, Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, David Davis and Damian Green call for only “trusted vendor” to be allowed as “primary contractors” into the UK’s “critical national infrastructure”, Presstv Reported.
"Trusted vendors would be companies from countries that have fair market competition, rule of law, respect human rights, data privacy and non-coercive government agencies", the signatories wrote.
The letter comes on the heels of the British government’s decision to allow Huawei a highly restricted role within the UK’s 5G network.
The restrictions exclude Huawei from the sensitive core of the network and only allow it to supply 35% of the equipment to the network’s periphery. In addition, the Chinese firm is excluded from areas near military bases and nuclear sites.
But in an interview with the BBC, former Tory party leader, Duncan Smith, argued against giving Huawei any role in the development of the UK’s 5G network.
"You have an organisation from a country that is an aggressor in terms of cyber warfare and a company that is clearly totally and utterly in the hands of the Chinese government who demand absolute obedience on these matters", Duncan Smith claimed.
Duncan Smith’s and his fellow signatories’ radical position on this issue is entirely consistent with the US government’s zero tolerance policy on Huawei.
In the latest development, US vice-president, Mike Pence, told the American broadcaster, CNBC, that the US was “profoundly disappointed” with the UK’s decision to allow a limited role for Huawei.
Questioned as to whether the Huawei decision could be a deal breaker in Brexit trade talks with the UK, Pence simply said "We'll see … We'll see if it is”.
The dissident action by Duncan Smith and other senior Tories indicates that on the Huawei issue at least the US has a powerful lobby in the higher reaches of the Conservative party.