Boris Johnson accused of doing "a bit of a runner" from Huawei 5G questions

Labour leadership candidate Keir Starmer urges PM to face questions around the UK's use of Huawei 5G tech

Keir Starmer has accused the Prime Minister of "doing a runner" by not facing questions over whether Huawei should be allowed a role in the UK's 5G infrastructure. 

The UK government will make its final decision about Huawei on Tuesday, according to reports, and Johnson has been under heavy pressure from the US to drop the Chinese telecoms giant. 

Boris Johnson faces a "momentous decision", according to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned that the UK's sovereignty was in jeopardy. 

Last week, reports suggested that the UK would ignore the US and offer Huawei a "limited role" in its future 5G plans, using its equipment but keeping it away from sensitive "core" information.

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Ahead of Tuesday's decision, Starmer, the leading candidate to become the next leader of the Labour party, urged Johnson to face MPs in the House of Commons about Huawei.

"There are so many questions that are unanswered," Starmer told Sky News, reported The Guardian "He's done a bit of a runner, has Boris Johnson, he's not around and he's not leading from the front. He needs to come to parliament, make a statement and face questions about this."

On Monday, the US made a last-minute plea with the government suggesting its sovereignty was under threat with Pompeo posting on Twitter: "The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G. British MP Tom Tugendhat gets it right: 'The truth is that only nations able to protect their data will be sovereign'."

Offering Huawei "limited" access does suggest that Johnson's government is wary of the threat the Chinese company allegedly posses, but it has previously bemoaned the lack of alternatives. 

Last week, Andrea Leadsom said there were alternatives, but they were "limited" and Johnson himself reportedly responded to the US with: "If people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what is the alternative, right?"

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