UK Telecommunications

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 14th July 2020.

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Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 12:50 pm, 14th July 2020

The hon. Gentleman talks about the January 2020 advice. That advice was based on advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, which was working with GCHQ. With all respect to the hon. Gentleman, I think that those organisations are probably a better source to rely on than he is. As a result of that advice, we were absolutely clear-eyed about the threat from Chinese vendors; that is why we deemed Huawei and ZTE high-risk vendors, why we banned them from the core of the network, and why we imposed a cap and banned them from the most sensitive elements.

It is, though, a fact that the United States has imposed sanctions on Huawei. The consequence of these sanctions, as we have been advised by the NCSC, is that we can no longer rely upon Huawei equipment. It is therefore in the security interests of the United Kingdom to ban any further use of that equipment by ruling out further purchases of it. That is the right thing to do in the national interest. If the facts change, we change our policy, and that is exactly what we have done. We will then enshrine it in law through the telecoms security Bill.

The hon. Gentleman talked about investment in other companies, and those are important points. We are addressing that through the national security and investment Bill, which will also come before the House. Throughout all this, we have been completely clear-eyed about the threat posed by Chinese companies and taken appropriate steps in relation to it.