If we had invested properly in tech, we wouldn’t be in this quandary.
Theresa May has refused to release the Huawei leak report to Gavin Williamson as he continued to protest against his sacking – or even say it exists.
The prime minister also declined to say she is “convinced” that her former defence secretary was the guilty party, despite earlier claiming there was “compelling evidence”.
Last week, at a meeting designed to prevent data breaches by foreign governments, a member of the UK National Security Council (NSC) leaked the outcome of the discussions to the international press. Prime minister Theresa May sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday, believing him to be responsible – a charge he strongly denies.
Chinese company Huawei is the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world and the global leader in the provision of ICT infrastructure. The NSC meeting was arranged to discuss whether it was wise to give Huawei the contract to provide much-needed services and infrastructure for the UK’s 5G mobile network. (5G is the 5th generation of smarter, faster and more efficient wireless technology.)
Britain’s own investment in 5G has been rather measly. The government has pledged around £1.1 billion of investment, compared to China’s $134 billion to $223 billion over the next five years. If the UK is to make good on its promises for AI, autonomous vehicles, and the much-vaunted Internet of Things, it is going to have to prioritise 5G. And that means some external assistance. China seems like the most obvious source of investment.
The sacked former Defence Secretary has insisted his enemy, Sir Mark Sedwill, blamed him during a security meeting of senior civil servants on Wednesday last week, only a few hours after the furore exploded.
The PM dramatically sacked the 42-year-old Tory MP and former close ally this week after a probe unearthed “compelling evidence” he briefed details from a National Security Council meeting to decide to allow Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to help build Britian’s 5G network.
But Mr Williamson, who is vigorously protesting his innocence, told friends last night: “I knew they were coming for me from the moment Mark Sedwill named me in that room.
The leak inquiry was always going to try to frame me.
We previously reported how the PM fired Mr Williamson, 42, after a probe unearthed “compelling evidence” he leaked confidential details about Huawei.