The British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has warned the next Prime Minister that if they do not quickly come to a decision on the role Huawei will play in the 5G telecommunications network then it could further damage international relations.
The powerful committee of MPs said on Friday that they must make a quick decision to avert a further breakdown in relations with China after a delay to the final decision caused by Theresa May’s resignation.
The National Security Council, chaired by May, decided to block Huawei from critical parts of the 5G network during a discussion in May, but gave it limited access to less sensitive parts.
A final decision was supposed to have been made public in a review led by the department of digial, culture, media and sport, but it has been delayed as the Tory party vote on May’s successor.
The United States has said it will cut off intelligence to any allies using Huawei Technologies equipment, which it believes China could use for spying.
China has warned Britain that excluding the world’s biggest maker of telecoms networking equipment Huawei could hurt investment and trade.
The ISC said the extend of the delay to a decision “is now causing serious damage to our international relationships: a decision must be made as a matter of urgency”.
The review could be published as soon as Monday, but the section involving 5G and Huawei would be kept back until the next Prime Minister decides, according to Reuters.
Either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt will become Prime Minister next week
A government spokesman said the review would be published “in due course” and all operators would have to comply.
The ISC also added that cyber security chiefs were not looking into one firm or country, but wanted to make sure that national networks could withstand any attack or errors, which would be best achieved by diversifying suppliers.
“Therefore including a third company – even if you may have some security concerns about them and will have to set a higher bar for security measures within the system – will, counter-intuitively, result in higher overall security,” the ISC said.
Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang said: “We agree that diversity improves resilience in networks.”
The ISC did acknowledged, though, that the government should not jeopardise the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and argued Beijing would understand if the roles were reversed with a British company installing national infrastructure.
“This is a geostrategic decision, the ramifications of which may be felt for decades to come,” the committee said.