AMERICA is threatening to stop sharing intelligence with the UK after Boris Johnson gave Huawei the green light.
The PM has sparked a transatlantic crisis after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Donald Trump will evaluate the decision to allow the Chinese firm to help build Britain’s 5G network.
Speaking as he flew to the UK for crunch talks with the PM today, Mr Pompeo said that using the controversial business would create “real risk”.
And he said it wasn’t too late for Britain to think again.
The US had been urging Britain to ban Huawei from getting anywhere near the telecoms network over security and hacking fears.
But ministers insisted it could be safe, and would allow Brits to get access to the latest speedy 5G technology.
They also promised to put bring forward legislation on it as soon as possible.
Mr Pompeo said earlier: “There is also a chance for the United Kingdom to relook at this as implementation moves forward and then it’s important for everyone to know there is also real work being done by lots of private companies inside the United States and in Europe to make sure that there are true competitors to Huawei.
“This is an extension of the Chinese Communist Party with a legal requirement to hand over information to the Chinese Community Party. We’ll evaluate what the United Kingdom did.”
And he stressed that American information would only ever pass through “a network we are confident that is a trusted one”.
STRAINED SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
Britain and America’s special relationship is under strain after the PM gave the go ahead for Huawei to help build Britain’s new internet network, despite concerns from other countries about the risks.
The PM this lunchtime defended his decision, and promised that it would not damage international relationships.
He told MPs: “I think that it is absolutely vital that people in this country do have access to the best technology available but that we also do absolutely nothing to imperil our relationship with the United States, to do anything to compromise our critical national security infrastructure, or to do anything to imperil our extremely valuable co-operation with Five Eyes security partners.”
The pair held a phonecall last night over the issue.
The decision was signed off during a 90-minute National Security Council meeting yesterday.
But Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was said to have been a “lone voice” against the move, The Times claimed.
The Sun revealed the heads of GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 called on him to develop a home-grown alternative in time for a 6G network.
The three limitations slapped on Huawei’s 5G involvement are:
- Its equipment will be banned from core areas of the network such as base stations and data storage hubs. It will only be allowed on the periphery, such as aerials and masts.
- The firm will also be barred from sensitive sites, such as military bases and power stations.
- Huawei’s market share in the network will be capped at 35 per cent to deny it any stranglehold.
The Sun also revealed senior Tory backbenchers are considering a Commons rebellion to try to force a ban on Huawei, with one calling it “a totally f***ing shit decision”.
A dozen backbenchers are furious with the decision too.
Former deputy PM Damian Green said: “We don’t know yet, when push comes to shove and votes happen, how many people will actually put their heads above the parapet but it is very widespread.”
Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and former Brexit Secretary David Davis have also voiced their concerns.
Despite Boris’ large majority he secured in last month’s election, if enough backbenchers rebel, the move could be blocked by the Commons.