Washington has stepped-up efforts to try and prevent Downing Street from backing Chinese technology firm Huawei’s involvement in the 5G communications network, it has been reported.
Senior US officials presented the British Government with information to persuade it not to allow the Chinese tech firm to get a lucrative foothold in the UK market, according to the Financial Times.
The newspaper said technical information was put forward in a meeting between US and British security officials on Monday.
The FT said there were growing expectations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would decide in favour of allowing the use of Huawei equipment in some “non-core” parts of the network, with a final decision due later in January.
It comes after Tory MP Bob Seely called for the Foreign Affairs Committee to open an immediate investigation into Huawei’s suitability for use in Britain’s 5G network.
Bob Seely said Huawei “to all intents and purposes is part of the Chinese state” and a deal with the tech giant would allow Beijing to access the UK’s network.
Mr Seely, who sat on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the last Parliament, added that it is “an extraordinarily important issue” on which the Government should be listening to the US and Australia.
Huawei argues it is a private firm – in no meaningful sense is that correct.
He told MPs during the Queen’s Speech debate that Huawei is “the subject of US investigation for fraud and commercial espionage”.
Mr Seely continued: “Sadly I feel that the debate over Huawei is marked by dangerous levels of misunderstanding and sometimes disinformation.
“For example, Huawei argues it is a private firm – in no meaningful sense is that correct.
“Huawei, to all intents and purposes, is part of the Chinese state and allowing Huawei a role in the 5G network is effectively to allow China and its agencies access to our network, and to say otherwise is simply false.”
Foreign Office minister Andrew Stephenson said a final decision will be “taken in due course”, adding: “The Government will consider the full range of risks when making this decision.”