Boris Johnson has insisted that he would not risk Britain’s security when upgrading the nation’s 5G communications network – but said critics of Chinese technology firm Huawei must come up with an “alternative” provider.
The prime minister is due to make a final decision on whether to allow the tech firm to operate “non-core” parts of the UK telecoms system within weeks.
In his first interview of the new year with BBC Breakfast, Johnson said: “The British public deserve to have access to the best possible technology. We want to put in gigabit broadband for everybody. Now if people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what’s the alternative.”
He added: “On the other hand, let’s be clear, I don’t want, as the UK prime minister, to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to cooperate with Five Eyes intelligence partners [the UK, Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia].”
The US has repeatedly warned the UK that allowing Huawei to operate its 5G network could put transatlantic intelligence sharing at risk. US officials have said allowing access would be “nothing short of madness”.
Pressure has also come from within the Five Eyes intelligence sharing organisation. Australia banned Huawei from running its 5G broadband network last year. Read more