Boris Johnson Defeats MP Rebellion Over Hauwei Decision

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defeated an attempt by a few MPs to overturn the Government’s decision regarding Huawei Technologies.

The government decided in late January to allow Huawei’s equipment, which has been present in UK networks since 2003, to be used in non-core parts of the UK’s 5G network that do not process sensitive data.

Huawei is also to be excluded from sensitive geographic locations such as nuclear sites and military bases; and have a 35 percent cap in periphery (non-sensitive parts) of the 5G network.

Parliamentary rebellion

The United States, which strongly opposes the use of Huawei in the UK’s networks, has said it plans to continue pressuring the British government over the issue.

Late last week a group of senior Conservative rebels, led by Iain Duncan-Smith, tabled an amendment, that would require Huawei’s equipment to be removed entirely from the UK’s mobile phone networks by the end of 2022.

But in Parliament on Tuesday the Prime Minister defeated his first party rebellion.

The government had tried to placate the rebels at first, Reuters reported, by saying it would work towards increasing the supply of 5G telecoms gear so operators would not need to use Huawei, but it refused to commit to any timetable to ban the Chinese company.

However that was not enough for the rebels and they pushed with their plan to a vote.

The government, which has an 80 seat majority, won by 24.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman reportedly said the government had “heard loud and clear the points made on all sides of the house”.


The decision by Parliament was welcomed by Huawei vice president Victor Zhang.

“We were reassured by the UK government’s decision in January that we could continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track,” said Zhang. “It was an evidence-based decision that will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure.”

“The government has examined the evidence and concluded that Huawei should not be banned on cyber security grounds and two parliamentary committees have done the same and agreed,” said Zhang.

“An evidence-based approach is needed, so we were disappointed to hear some groundless accusations asserted,” he said. “The industry and experts agree that banning Huawei equipment would leave Britain less secure, less productive and less innovative.”

It should be noted that three of the UK’s largest wireless providers (EE, Vodafone, and Three) are all using Huawei to build their 5G networks.

The only exception to this is O2, which instead opted to use 5G equipment from Ericsson and Nokia.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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