scorecardBoris Johnson defies Trump and gives Huawei the green light to develop Britain's 5G network
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Boris Johnson defies Trump and gives Huawei the green light to develop Britain's 5G network

Adam Payne,Adam Payne,Thomas Colson   

Boris Johnson defies Trump and gives Huawei the green light to develop Britain's 5G network
PoliticsPolitics2 min read
Boris Johnson
  • Boris Johnson gives the green light to Huawei to develop the UK's 5G network.
  • The UK government has defied the US to give Chinese company a role in improving the UK's digital infrastructure.
  • Donald Trump's administration has urged the UK government not to do a deal with Huawei.
  • The US believes it would give Chinese intelligence services a backdoor into Britain.
  • However, Johnson's government is going ahead with the deal, as part of plans to "level up" the UK.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Boris Johnson has defied Donald Trump's US administration and granted permission to Chinese telecoms company Huawei to play a part in developing Britain's 5G network.

The UK government said in a written statement on Tuesday that it had decided to give Huawei a major role in building the country's 5G network, despite warnings about potential threats to security.

The US strongly opposes the UK letting Huawei develop its infrastructure because it believes doing so will give Chinese state intelligence services a backdoor into Britain, and put UK-US intelligence sharing at risk.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, who is due to visit London this week, on Sunday warned Prime Minister Johnson that he faced a "momentous" decision on whether to freeze the telecoms giant out of new UK infrastructure.

Pompeo endorsed a tweet from Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who warned that allowing Huawei into such a critical part of infrastructure could have a "real cost" and undermine the UK's sovereignty.

Tugendhat is one of several MPs in Johnson's own Conservative party who have expressed concern about Huawei.

However, the prime minister has opted to go ahead with plans to let the Chinese company develop Britain's 5G network, as part of its agenda of "leveling up" regions across the country through improved infrastructure.

The UK government has been advised by security services that a deal with Huawei would not put intelligence at risk.

The government is set to make a House of Commons statement on the decision later on Tuesday.

Johnson resists US pressure on the eve of Brexit trade talks

Boris Johnson Donald TrumpThe Times newspaper reported on Monday that the repeated threats from Trump and his allies had "irritated" Johnson's administration, with Johnson calling on critics to put forward an alternative for developing UK 5G.

Asked earlier this month whether he would allow the Huawei deal to go ahead, the prime minister told the BBC that "the British public deserves access to the best possible technology."

He added: "If people oppose one brand or another they have to tell us what's the alternative?"

This disagreement between London and Washington comes just weeks before the two sides sit down to negotiate a post-Brexit free trade deal.

US Congressman Mike Gallagher told the BBC that letting Huawei develop its 5G network would thwart the UK's chances of a comprehensive free trade agreement with the US.

"Regardless of who wins the White House in 2020, I think it would make it very difficult - if not impossible - to reach that gold-standard trade agreement which we all want," he said.

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