The UK government has defeated an amendment proposed by a group of rebel Conservative MPs trying to stop UK telecommunications operators from using “high risk vendors” in the near future.
Britain decided in January to allow Huawei into what the government said were non-sensitive parts of the country’s 5G network, capping its involvement at 35%.
Some senior Conservatives wanted Huawei eliminated entirely from Britain’s 5G networks by the end of December 2022. The government tried to placate the rebels by saying it would work toward increasing the supply of 5G telecoms gear so operators would not need to use Huawei, but it refused to commit to any timetable to ban the Chinese company. It was not enough, however, and the rebels pushed their plan to a vote.
According to the proposed amendment to the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, local operators will not be allowed to use “high-risk vendors” in their networks after Dec 31, 2022.
The government, which has an 80 seat majority, won by 24.
Responding to the defeated amendment, Victor Zhang, vice president of Huawei, said
“The government has examined the evidence and concluded that Huawei should not be banned on cyber security grounds and two parliamentary committees have done the same and agreed.”
“An evidence-based approach is needed, so we were disappointed to hear some groundless accusations asserted. The industry and experts agree that banning Huawei equipment would leave Britain less secure, less productive and less innovative,”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said the government had “heard loud and clear the points made on all sides of the house”.