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Code rights in respect of land connected to leased premises

Part of Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:00 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox Conservative, North Somerset 2:00 pm, 10th March 2020

In a moment I will come on to why I think our values must be a part of our approach to this particular issue, as well as national security, but there is a key question for the Secretary of State to answer in this debate, and it is a very simple one: do the Government believe that there is any risk to the United Kingdom’s national security if Huawei is involved in our 5G system? The Government cannot talk about a small risk; we do not want there to be a risk at all. One of the things I have found extremely irritating in this whole debate and in many of the briefings that have come forward is the response, “Don’t worry, we can mitigate the risk of Huawei being there.” Why would anyone want to mitigate a risk when they can avoid the risk in the first place?

That goes to the root of the issue. The idea that we must have Huawei because there are no alternatives is untrue. The United States is going to get 5G and it will get it without Huawei, because it will not bring that risk to its own national security. So what is wrong with the United Kingdom having to wait a little longer to get 5G, but to get a 5G that will give us security in the long-term—and, as has been rightly said, so what if it costs us a little bit more? The cost is much less than the risk to long-term national security.