GCHQ is understood to have revised its previous assurance that the risks posed by the Chinese technology giant can be safely managed. The Prime Minister will be handed a report this week which will contain new information on the US sanction on Huawei. These measures will force the company to use untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control. It comes after China reacted with fury over Boris Johnson’s offer to allow Hong Kong citizens to come to the UK after the new controversial security law was approved last week.
It’s a report by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and has concluded that sanctions, which bar Huawei from using technology relying on American intellectual property have had a “severe” impact on the firm that significantly changes their calculations.
This had led to officials drawing up new proposals on how to stop installing new Huawei equipment in the 5G network.
The course of which should be around six months.
And will also look to speed up the removal of technology that is already in place.
Boris Johnson could ban China’s involvement in 5G
Whitehall figures are now also examining the “ramifications” for existing Huawei equipment in other infrastructure outside 5G.
This is being viewed as a fairly dramatic reversal by the Prime Minister.
Especially after in January when Boris Johnson allowed Huawei to build parts of the network.
Tory MP’s on the backbenches have already started rising up against Mr Johnson and threatening a parliamentary “insurgency” if he fails to take a tougher approach on Huawei and China.
Debate on the National Security and Investment Bill, which Tories had been preparing to amend to force Mr Johnson’s hand on Huawei, is now believed to have been postponed until after the summer.
This is due to fears of a major rebellion against such a bill.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who plays a leading role in the 59-strong Huawei Interest Group of Conservatives, said: “Unless the Government now really takes a firm lead they will find that Parliament leads dramatically.”
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According to Whitehall sources, the new report was supposed to mark a “fundamental shift” from its previous assurances that led to Mr Johnson allowing Huawei a market share in the 5G network.
A market share of up to 35 per cent.
Its assessment of the potential risks to the UK is now believed to be far closer to that of security agencies in the US.
Mr Trump’s administration has classified Huawei as a national security threat amid claims the company has “close ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus”.
Huawei has said the decision was based on “innuendo and mistaken assumptions”.
Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, is expected to provide Mr Johnson with formal advice, including the NCSC’s fresh assessment, 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 said: “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.”