Huawei appoints former BT chairman Michael Rake to UK board

Rake has been a key ally for Huawei amid 5G turmoil

The UK's advisor to Huawei, Sir Michael Rake, has joined the Chinese company's board.

Rake, who was previously the chairman of BT, has been the UK government's advisor to the embattled telecoms giant since the start of 2019. 

He has been a key ally for Huawei in the UK, last month suggesting that removing its 5G technology would be bad for the country's economy post-Brexit

In a statement, Rake stressed the importance of good communication infrastructure, particularly as lockdowns are forcing people to stay at home and avoid the spread of the coronavirus. 

"We are all getting used to working and communicating in different ways in these difficult times and I am passionate about making sure everyone can get affordable, reliable and quick connections at home and at work," he said. "Huawei and its world-leading technology is vital to that." 

"At BT, I saw first-hand how Huawei worked with Britain's leading operators to roll out broadband, 3G and 4G. I look forward to working with them again on the next generation of technology as the company extends its 20-year track record in the UK."

Huawei said that the appointment "underlines its commitment to openness and transparency" but it also strengths its ties with the UK's government at a crucial time. 

A Tory rebellion, reportedly led by Sir Ian Duncan Smith, is gearing up to challenge Boris Johnson over the decision to grant Hauwei "limited" access to the countries 5G networks. Last month, the same group of MPs lost a vote on the subject. Huawei said it would be a "disservice" to the UK if the rebellion were to succeed.

Despite granting Huawei access, and the fact that it is already widely used by the UK's network operators, the Chinese firm has many detractors, such as the US government, which issued a trade ban in 2019. White House officials have also reportedly pushed allies to ditch the telecoms giant by 2023.  

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