Lymington Times – 10 May 2019
The Prime Minister was taken to task by a New Forest MP over leaked revelations that Chinese firm Huawei was being considered to help upgrade parts of the UK’s communications network.
Julian Lewis, of New Forest East, dismissed one of Theresa May’s answers as “meaningless” as he sought to show the dangers of involving a company “intimately linked to the Communist regime.
Last week, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked by the Prime Minister following a high-level leak inquiry to find out who supplied the secret information published in the [Daily] Telegraph. In TV interviews afterwards, Dr Lewis declined to criticise him directly.
During a session of the House of Commons Liaison Committee made up of senior MPs, Dr Lewis, Conservative chair of the Defence Committee, pressed Mrs May:
“You cannot have a company of that size, purporting to be private, in a totalitarian Communist regime.
“You and I, Prime Minister, grew up in the Cold War. We know the nature of these regimes, and we know that it is utterly unbelievable to suggest that a company structured like that in a Communist society has any sort of independence from a government that has passed a law requiring such companies to co-operate with its intelligence agencies.
“Isn’t that a pretty bullet-proof chain of logic?”
He described China as an
“oppressive one-party state”
and pointed to
“systematic cyber-espionage against us and our allies”
by its government, which he said had previously been acknowledged by the Foreign Secretary.
Mrs May said:
“The most recent Oversight Board report noted concerns of cyber-security in Huawei products, but found no evidence of state interference. This is an issue that we take extremely seriously. As I say, we are aware of the ability of both state and non-state actors to deal in this issue.”