Osborne speaks up for Huawei after spy fears

Marion Dakers
THE CHANCELLOR yesterday defended Chinese investors in Britain after a security committee warned of a “shocking” lack of regulatory oversight during a telecoms deal that may have left the UK vulnerable to spying.

Huawei, which signed an equipment deal with BT in 2005, has been banned from selling hardware to US government bodies over security concerns.

The intelligence and security committee said security agents had told them in 2008 that “theoretically, the Chinese State may be able to exploit any vulnerabilities in Huawei’s equipment in order to gain some access to the BT network, which would provide them with an attractive espionage opportunity”.

George Osborne said yesterday that Huawei is considered a “long-term valued investor in the UK”.

“It is a personal priority of mine to increase trade links between the UK and China and I cannot emphasise enough that the UK is open to Chinese investment.”

Huawei stressed its independence from the Chinese state yesterday and pointed out that BT was satisfied with its work.