Ministers Call For “Full and Proper” Inquiry Over Huawei Leak
“We cannot exclude the possibility of a criminal investigation,” says Culture Secretary following Huawei decision leak.
The UK Government is considering launching a full investigation following the disclosure of the National Security Council’s (NSC) confidential discussion over its decision regarding the use of Huawei’s 5G technology.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the NSC had decided to allow the telecoms giant access to help build the UK’s new 5G network, despite warnings regarding possible risks to national security. It was also reported that a number of ministers had raised concerns about the decision.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt are reported to be among the ministers who raised concerns at the meeting.
A Whitehall source confirmed that the NSC had agreed to grant restricted access to Huawei to build non-core infrastructure.
Addressing the Commons, Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We cannot exclude the possibility of a criminal investigation here, and everyone will want to take seriously that suggestion.”
Security officials, he said, “need to feel they can give advice to ministers, which ministers will treat seriously and keep private, and if they do not feel that they will not give us that advice and government will be worse as a result”.
Lord Ricketts, former national security advisor told the BBC that this was the first time anyone had perpetrated such a massive leak since the NSC was established in 2010.
Sir Miachel Fallon, ex-defence minister, said that the incident was “too serious” for a standard leaks inquiry and said police must be involved. He said that everyone who attended that meeting should be subject to a “proper Scotland Yard investigation”, calling the disclosure an “offense” .
A spokesman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May declined to confirm if a Government leak inquiry was under way but said: “The Prime Minister is clear that the protection of information on matters of national security is of the highest importance”.
At present, there has been no formal confirmation of Huawei’s role in the 5G network, but No. 10 has said that the final decision would be made at the end of Spring 2019.