Government pens Autumn date for Huawei 5G decision

But Johnson's plan to prorogue Parliament may result in no scrutiny

Huawei logo on building

The government will aim to decide whether or not to include Huawei in the development of the UK's 5G networking infrastructure sometime during Autumn this year.

Concerns around the firm's level of security have predominately emanated from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in recent months, following evaluations by its Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) oversight board.

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The UK has also been closely following ongoing developments in the dispute between the Chinese networking giant and the US; with tensions rising and falling on a regular basis.

The government is however, aiming to make a final decision as to whether to include Huawei's tech in its 5G infrastructure before the end of the year, according to the digital secretary Nicky Morgan.

"I would hope we can do something by the Autumn," Morgan told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, adding: "We want to make the right decision and we've got to make sure that this is a decision for the long-term, you know, making sure we keep all our networks secure.

"Huawei are not involved in secure networks or in provision of government networks at the moment, and that's going to stay the same way, but we're going to look at all of the circumstances."

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The previous government, led by former Prime Minister Theresa May, reportedly signed off on a deal in April that would grant Huawei partial access to the UK's critical 5G infrastructure. This was before the completion of a six-month report into telecoms suppliers.

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It's unclear whether the new administration, led by Boris Johnson, will follow a similar position to the last government, but the Prime Minister has previously touted the importance of foreign investment when asked on the subject.

"It is very important to recognise that there can be significant benefits to investment from overseas in this country and Chinese companies are welcome as much as any other companies," Johnson said in an interview with Reuters last month.

"But you would not expect the UK to do anything to compromise its vital national security infrastructure and you would not expect me as prime minister to do anything to compromise the ability of our fantastic intelligence services to share information as they do particularly with our five eyes partners, so that is the principle that will guide us."

Another factor that could complicate matters is the government's intention to suspend Parliament in the next few weeks in order to implement its Brexit plan without opposition from MPs.

Should Johnson succeed in this plan, the functions of the Palaces of Westminster will too be suspended, including the operations of any select committee that would have scrutinised the government's decision.

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