Boris Johnson is preparing to defy US president Trump’s demand to ban Huawei Technologies from the UK’s fifth-generation telecommunications networks, in a decision that risks an angry backlash from within his own Conservative Party.
The British prime minister’s team will make the decision today after a meeting of the country’s National Security Council, according to the UK’s digital minister Matt Warman.
Numerous Tory MPs have raised concerns over Huawei gaining any access to UK networks, citing fears that the company could become a security risk for Britain.
But Mr Johnson suggested the UK government can ensure consumer benefits without putting national security in danger, even though the Trump administration has repeatedly warned that Huawei could be vulnerable to Chinese spies.
“We are going to come up with a solution that enables us to achieve both those objectives and that’s the way forward,” Mr Johnson said.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have technological progress here in the UK — allow consumers, businesses in the UK access to fantastic technology, fantastic communications — but also protect our security interests and protect our key partnerships with other security powers around the world.”
The remarks suggest Mr Johnson will grant Huawei partial access to the UK’s telecoms networks, setting up a clash with Mr Trump, whose administration has lobbied for the Britain to ban Huawei, saying its presence in networks would threaten intelligence-sharing.