British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced stiff resistance Tuesday from conservative lawmakers who are worried the country’s association with China’s Huawei constitutes a national security risk.
Britain announced in January that it will allow Huawei to build out 5G network infrastructure while denying it access to some of Britain’s government sites. The announcement has not gone over well with some Tories who want to prevent the Chinese from making inroads in the country.
There are roughly 30 to 50 conservative lawmakers who oppose the decision, Reuters reported Tuesday, noting also that some of them planning to back an amendment ensuring that companies like Huawei are stripped out of networks completely within the next two years.
“We hope to curb the government’s enthusiasm for installing hardware produced by a company that they acknowledge to be ‘high risk’,” conservative lawmaker David Jones told Reuters.
Jones and others say their chances of successfully pushing back against Huawei are likely to fail.
Huawei considers Britain’s move allowing them a foothold a win, even though the country is limiting its market share to 35%.
President Donald Trump and U.S. officials believe Huawei represents a threat to national security, warning Beijing could direct the company to spy on Americans or cause disruptions to critical infrastructure.
Meanwhile, American officials are stepping up their anti-Huawei campaign. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for instance, told his Twitter followers Sunday that Britain had a “momentous decision ahead on 5G.”
Trump reportedly called Johnson Friday to implore him to avoid Huawei.
Former Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan was among a handful of people who panned Britain’s move. “It’s a recipe for disaster,” Rogers said in a January press statement addressing UK’s announcement.
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