Sir Iain Duncan Smith condemns decision to allow Huawei technology in UK's 5G networks

28th January 2020

Responding to the Government statement on 5G, Sir Iain Duncan Smith condemns the decision to allow Huawei technology to be used in the UK's 5G mobile networks opening up the threat to cyber-security from China and calls for Huawei to be driven out of our future systems as soon as possible.

I say to my right hon. Friend that I am deeply disappointed by this decision. I have spoken at length to security officials, who will always say that defending in cyber-security is a game of catch-up—always catching up with the next algorithm change, and we can never guarantee that we spot it sometimes until too late. The reality of the 5G network is that it is fundamentally different. There will be less and less centralised function with more and more going to the periphery, which is exactly where Huawei will be. Given that he did not mention China as a threat to us in cyber-security—he mentioned only Russia—does he now believe that China is a threat to us in cyber-security; as he takes on those threats to us, does he think that he will now drive Huawei out of our future systems progressively, as quickly as he can?

The Government and the various statements that have been made in relation to the security risks have consistently called out China for cyber-attacks and other nefarious ways in which they risk—[Interruption.] I am doing it now, so hopefully my right hon. Friend will be reassured. We are squarely focused on that, but in relation to 5G it is important to assess very specifically, in a targeted way, the nature of the risk and make sure that we have the right tools to deal with that risk. As I said in an earlier answer, the risk of an outright ban is that it is a very blunt tool to deal with a very specific problem, but he is right to say that we have to be very mindful as technology develops in the future.

Hansard

Video