DCMS – HUAWEI – 22 July 2019
Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Secretary of State accept that the phrase “manageable risk” is almost a contradiction in terms, because if it were fully manageable, it would not be a risk? Is he not absolutely right not to be taking a decision with such profound security implications for our future in the dying few hours of an outgoing prime ministerial administration? Finally, does he accept that unlike other suppliers, which, it is true, may have contaminated supply chains themselves, Huawei is unique in being subject to article 14 of China’s national intelligence law, passed in June 2017, which empowers the intelligence agencies of the Chinese state to
“request the relevant organs, organisations and civilians to provide necessary support, assistance and cooperation”
to those intelligence services? We would be mad to enter into a direct security relationship with the agencies of a totalitarian communist state.
[The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Jeremy Wright): I am grateful for my right hon. Friend’s comments. Of course, he is right that we should take no risks that are not manageable. Once we are in the possession of all the information we should have, we will have to judge whether we are capable of managing the appropriate risk effectively. If we are not, it is a risk that we should not take. On that I entirely agree, but that decision has not yet been taken.
My right hon. Friend is right to highlight the Chinese law – it is what makes Huawei different from many other suppliers in the network – but I repeat the point I made a moment ago: a process for managing that risk has been in place for some considerable time. So far as delay is concerned, I repeat that in my judgment the right way to proceed is to delay only until we are in possession of the facts and information necessary to make the right judgment. That is the process we will undertake.]