UK Government Officials have confirmed the Prime Minister plans to phase out Huawei from the country telecom infrastructure by 2023.
The U-turn decision comes after a number of Tory MPs pressured Boris Johnson to ensure Chinese tech companies didn’t have a role in the UK’s 5G network amis fears it could compromise national security.
Huawei was previously granted a limited role in providing 5G equipment to Britain earlier this year, with its market share was capped at 35%.
As anti-Bejing sentiment hardens in the light of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of Conservative MPs willing to rebel on the issue is now estimated to be 50 – enough in theory to defeat the government (Johnson at the moment boasts an 80 strong majority.)
It now appears that the PM had caved and instructed aides to put together plans to remove the telecoms giant from the country’s 5G network.
Senior Tory ministers also want to reduce the UK’s economic dependance on China for essential goods in the light of the pandemic.
The US administration has previously banned government use of Huawei’s technology, and the president Donald Trump signed an executive order last May blocking US companies from buying foreign-made telecommunications equipment that may pose national security risks.
The US argued that Huawei could potentially build backdoors into network infrastructure, ostensibly to aid spying efforts by the Chinese government, a charge Huawei has repeatedly firmly denied.
Trump reportedly called Johnson earlier this year to discuss the Huawei affairs.
Downing Street declined to comment although sources said the reports of the Johnson plan were accurate.