The government should remove Chinese firm Huawei from the UK’s 5G network by 2025 rather than 2027, as planned, ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has said.
The telecoms company is to be banned from fixing 5G, but will remain involved in 3G and 4G.
Mr Duncan Smith said allowing Huawei to figure on these also posed a continued “risk” to national security.
But the govt said it might “ensure” the UK’s communications system was as “secure because it possibly can be”.
Huawei, which has repeatedly said it might not cause harm to any country, predicted the united kingdom would now be pushed “into the digital slow lane”, with higher bills for consumers.
In January, ministers announced the corporate would be kept out of the sensitive core of the 5G network – including national intelligence – but be allowed involvement in up to 35% of other parts.
This prompted criticism from backbench Conservative MPs, marshalled by Mr Duncan Smith, who called Huawei an arm of the Chinese Communist Party and a risk to the united kingdom .
The US, with which the united kingdom shares much of its intelligence, also applied diplomatic pressure for a rethink.
Under its revised plans, the govt says Huawei won’t be allowed to put in any equipment for the 5G network from next year – and its existing equipment are going to be removed by 2027.
But Mr Duncan Smith told the House of Commons that the top of BT thought the removal could happen two years earlier.
He said: “I do think he [Mr Dowden] can roll in the hay quicker than this… there is no reason why it can’t [happen].”
The government thought it had made its decision on Huawei earlier this year. It wanted to urge on with delivering faster internet and thought Huawei was best placed to make sure speedy upgrades.
But since then the US has continued to use pressure – with its decision to impose new sanctions on China an important factor.
Meanwhile, dozens of Tory backbenchers continued their opposition – and refused to fall in line. they’re going to be scrutinising the detail of today’s announcement. also as a ban on Huawei’s future involvement, many want current infrastructure travel by the corporate removed.
However, ministers need to balance this with their commitments on faster broadband speeds. Telecoms chiefs have warned if things happen too fast without proper alternatives, we could see a discount in some services and even blackouts.
Mr Duncan Smith added that there have been “contradictions” in banning Huawei from 5G but not 3G and 4G, which might undergo “software upgrades”by Huawei “for subsequent decade”.
“So, if they seem to be a risk to us in 5G, why are they not a risk to us generally?” he asked.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden replied: “The reality of the 5G network is that it’s fundamentally different and it is a recognition of that fundamental difference that we are imposing these rules for 5G.
“Of course, over time… 5G are going to be replaced by 6G, and altogether of that Huawei are going to be absent.”
He also said: “There is in fact no such thing as a wonderfully secure network, but the responsibility of the govt is to make sure that it’s as secure because it possibly are often .”
For Labour, shadow culture secretary Chi Onwurah said the govt had been “incomprehensibly negligent” and had “refused to face reality” over Huawei.
She asked whether UK security policy was “being led by the US” and said ministers had no “sustainable plan for the digital economy”.
SNP culture spokesman John Nicolson said it had been wrong within the first place to permit Huawei near the “nervous system” of the UK’s telecoms network.
And Labour MP Chris Bryant told the Commons there was “unity” among MPs con to the company’s further involvement in 5G, saying: “I wish the govt would hear its own backbenchers.”
The US has claimed China could use Huawei to “spy, steal or attack” the united kingdom – but the corporate denies this and its founder has said he would rather shut the corporate down than do anything to wreck its clients.
Sanctions imposed in May by Washington have limited China’s access to US chip technology, which prompted the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre to launch a review of the utilization of Huawei.
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