As reported in the Sunday Telegraph:
David Davis has warned that allowing Huawei to build part of the UK’s 5G network could be seen as “the worst decision made by a British prime minister”, as the Government prepares to introduce legislation to Parliament.
Urging Boris Johnson to reconsider, the former Brexit secretary said it is not too late to “switch on this completely”.
The Government is expected to introduce legislation to Parliament this week, but is facing a backlash from its own backbenches.
Mr Davis urged the Prime Minister not to hand “the keys to large parts of the country over to China” and confirmed he would be putting pressure on him to change his mind.
He said: “If things start to go wrong in a decade or two decades time the history books will blame this Government because they missed an opportunity to change direction.
“This is the biggest decision Boris Johnson is facing. This is the ground on which future wars will be fought.”
The Government is increasingly expected to put down a “statutory instrument” instead of introducing primary legislation, meaning there will be limited options for debate in the Commons.
However, one senior MP said doing so could leave Mr Johnson “facing defeat” if it were to go to a vote.
They said: “A very large number of the Parliamentary party are nervous about this. I would doubt the Government wants to see a defeat at such an early stage.”
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the Government’s “decision to rush this through” was “incredibly disappointing”.
He said: “The Government should have taken time and taken soundings. Boris Johnson has been badly advised by the civil service.
“It was probably a decision made off the back of a one and a half page note – which I hear Dominic Cummings is quite fond of these days.”
Prominent backbench Huawei sceptic Bob Seely has warned that Mr Johnson should not present the 5G decision to Parliament as a “fait accompli” in the form of a statutory instrument.
He said: “We are concerned it will backfire on the Government if it is seen as trying to get it through under the cover of secondary legislation.
“It’s simply a debate Parliament has not yet considered.”
It comes after it emerged that Donald Trump referred to Mr Johnson’s decision to allow the Chinese tech giant Huawei to take part in Britain’s 5G roll-out as a “betrayal”.
The Prime Minister reportedly received an “apoplectic” reaction from the US President, who had lobbied the UK to shut out Huawei.
As reported in the Mail on Sunday:
Senior Tories have warned Boris Johnson that granting Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G network amounts to ‘handing the keys to large parts of the country over to China’.
Pressure is now growing on the Prime Minister to reverse his decision to green light the Chinese tech giant to help build the communications grid.
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, today urged the government to go back to the drawing board after the US warned it could harm intelligence sharing arrangements.
Writing for the Mail On Sunday, Mr Davis said the Huawei move represented the ‘worst intelligence decision since MI6’s recruitment of Kim Philby’ as he claimed it could enable Beijing to seize control of core infrastructure like dams and air traffic control.
This morning he doubled down on these warnings as he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘We’re handing the keys to large parts of the country over to China.
‘5G in the future is going to be everything. It’s going to be from traffic light controls to your medical records.
‘From your telephone and your video, right through to the operation of the infrastructures, water and electricity.
‘Now that is going to be completely throughout our society.’
Told that UK security services had assured the government that the decision to involve Huawei was safe, Mr Davis said he believed spies were ‘underestimating the size of the problem’.
His intervention comes after fellow former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson described the government’s approach to Huawei as ‘incomprehensible’.
Big beasts including foreign affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat, former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt and former party leader Iain Duncan Smith have also all lined up to condemn the decision.
The White House has urged its allies not to do business with Huawei because of security concerns. The company has always denied that it poses a security risk.
Britain’s move to plow ahead regardless has soured relations between Washington and London, with President Trump reportedly incandescent.
While Mr Johnson’s refusal to be strong-armed by the President has won him some plaudits in the UK, it could derail his much-mooted post-Brexit trade deal with America.
Mick Mulvaney, the White Houses’s acting chief of staff, last week led a delegation to Number 10 shortly and is understood to have given his UK counterparts a ‘b******ing over Huawei.
Discussions over the UK’s 5G network are believed to have dominated the trip at the expense of preliminary trade talks, which were bumped down the agenda.
Australia, also a close ally of the UK, has weighed in behind the US to caution against enlisting Huawei.
Following the decision to press ahead late last month, the Australian intelligence and security committee scrapped a planned visit to meet Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
As reported by the Sun:
A Tory grandee has warned that the decision to allow Chinese tech firm Huawei rights to build the UK’s 5G network is the worst security blunder since hiring a Soviet double agent.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said that the go-ahead “is the worst intelligence decision since MI6’s recruitment of Kim Philby”.
Philby was a member of the Cambridge Five, a spy ring that passed information to the Soviet Union during World War Two and in the early stages of the Cold War.
Mr Davis warned: “It goes without saying that anybody who can interfere in our 5G networks can cause mayhem, seizing control of, say, dams, air traffic control and electricity generators.
“Or they could paralyse the internet, bringing the nation to a halt. The damage could range from traffic jams to mass fatalities – and that is quite aside from the capacity for espionage.”
He added: “China has spied aggressively on Western states for decades, stealing military and technological secrets on an industrial scale.”
The government has repeatedly said that the technology poses no risks to security or intelligence services.
But Mr Davis warned that the decision will have a detrimental effect on our relationship with security allies which would “be nothing short of a huge victory for our enemies.”
He added: “It is a sad fact that we have let ourselves become dependent on foreign countries for significant parts of our country’s technology – and we must react accordingly.”
As reported in the Express:
Former Cabinet minister David Davis has called for the decision to be overturned and warned it would be the worst intelligence move since MI6 recruited double agent Kim Philby.
It comes amid claims that Donald Trump remains furious with the UK over the decision and has called it a “betrayal”.
Number 10 sources denied the US president used the phrase directly in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the decision was announced.
Tory MPs want a “meaningful debate” in Parliament on Huawei’s involvement and have warned the government against trying to push it through using secondary legislation.
Mr Davis said involvement in the UK’s 5G networks can “cause mayhem, seizing control of, say, dams, air traffic control and electricity generators” or bring down internet access.
He warned the damage could “range from traffic jams to mass fatalities” and insisted it was a widely held view.
“It’s difficult to understand why the government has done this,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr. “Because if you look not just the Americans, the Americans are cross with us, but so are the Australians.
“We’re handing the keys to large parts of the country over China. 5G in the future is going to be everything. It’s going to be from traffic light controls to your medical records. From your telephone and your video, right through to the operation of the infrastructures, water and electricity. Now that is going to be completely throughout our society.”
Mr Davis called on Mr Johnson to reverse the decision, warning that historians may “look back and say that was the worst decision a British Prime Minister made”.
White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney met senior officials in Downing Street earlier this month to warn Huawei’s involvement would have a “direct and dramatic impact” US security relations with the UK.
Huawei is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of telecommunications equipment and is a private company.
But Chinese law means firms can be forced to co-operate with its national intelligence work and critics claim Beijing could force Huawei to spy on people through so-called “back doors” in its telecoms equipment.
It has always denied being closely tied to the state and insists it abides by the laws of every country in which it operates.
As reported in City A.M.:
Former Tory cabinet minister David Davis has lambasted the government’s 5G deal with Chinese tech firm Huawei, branding it the “worst intelligence decision since MI6’s recruitment of Kim Philby”.
Davis, who served as Brexit secretary under Theresa May, warned the verdict posed a huge risk to national security and likened it to the appointment of notorious Soviet double agents.
“In fact, given our future dependence on so-called fifth generation or 5G technology, this failure is worse than Philby and his fellow spies Burgess, Maclean, Cairncross and Blunt all rolled into one,” he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
The bruising attack comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Huawei would be allowed to build non-sensitive parts of the UK’s 5G networks, though the firm will be subject to a market share cap of 35 per cent.
The decision came despite warnings from the US that the Chinese telecoms firm had links to Beijing and could compromise national security — an accusation Huawei has always denied.
Davis warned that 5G’s role in major infrastructure meant that any hostile party with access to the network could bring the country to its knees.
“The damage could range from traffic jams to mass fatalities — and that is quite aside from the capacity for espionage,” he wrote.
UK spooks have acknowledged that Huawei is a so-called high risk vendor, but have insisted that any risks can be managed.
However, the former Brexit secretary pointed to the decisions made by allies such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who have all taken action against Huawei.
“China has spied aggressively on Western states for decades, stealing military and technological secrets on an industrial scale,” he said.
The UK’s decision to give Huawei the green light has also sparked concerns about the so-called Five Eyes intelligence sharing agreement between western allies.
The US has previously warned that it could restrict the amount of intelligence it shares with any country that chooses to work with Huawei.
In addition, the move has risked derailing crucial transatlantic trade talks, with US President Donald Trump said to be furious at Johnson’s decision.
Following a heated phone call with the Prime Minister earlier this month, Trump described the UK’s decision as a “betrayal”, the Mail on Sunday reported.
A group of senior Conservatives, including Davis and Sir Ian Duncan Smith, have written to Tory MPs urging them to reconsider the government’s decision and calling for a total ban.
Davis today reiterated his stance, urging Johnson to reverse his decision.
“This is a formidably important question,” Davis told the BBC’s Andrew Marr. “[Johnson’s] in his pomp, he’s at the maximum of his power now… he won’t want in 20 years’ time historians to look back and say that was the worst decision a British prime minister made in however many years.”