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Saturday, March 07, 2020

Dismantling our mobile network?

Having allegedly taken back control from the European Union, the next target for some MPs appears to be taking back control from China. Given the level of investment in our economy from the Chinese, this may prove a tall order but, hey, that's never stopped the Tories before.

The Guardian reports that a group of eight Conservative rebel MPs, including four former cabinet ministers, have put down an amendment calling on the government to eliminate all Huawei technology from the UK’s mobile phone networks by the end of 2022:

Led by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, David Davis and Damian Green, the rebels hope to stage a show of strength – although it is not clear whether they can attract the 44 votes needed to threaten Boris Johnson’s majority.

There are some claims they could threaten the government if all opposition parties supported them, but one rebel source told the Guardian the true number of Tory malcontents was in the 30s, not enough to force a defeat.

Insiders said the amendment represented the first step in a “guerrilla” campaign aimed at prompting a rethink in Downing Street, in tandem with pressure from the White House, which is strongly opposed to the deployment of Huawei.

The White House and the Conservative rebels believe technology from the Chinese firm represents a potential surveillance risk, but Downing Street and Britain’s spy agencies believe any risks can be managed, based partly on their experience of the kit.

The amendment is attached to an obscure technical bill, the telecommunications infrastructure bill, and is unlikely to be effective if passed because the proposed legislation only applies where leasehold property owners are unresponsive to phone companies.

It does, however, represent an opportunity for rebels to declare their numbers before Downing Street puts forward legislation to implement its Huawei decision to a vote later in the spring.

As the paper says last month, Boris Johnson’s government announced plans to cap Huawei’s market share in 5G at 35%. The rebels want the UK to eliminate the Chinese company’s involvement entirely, even though it has been used in British networks since 2003.

And in that fact lies the crux of the problem for the rebel Tories. This is not just about 5G, their amendment would involve ripping apart the UK's entire mobile network and rebuilding it from scratch with catastrophic consequences for our economy.

Still, just because a cause is dumb hasn't stopped this lot in the past.
Since Johnsons win ,to me, there is a sense that we can now do what we want with the country.,as long as Trump approves.M.I.5. does not think there is a threat. It is not only China that is involved but in a wider contex the EU. Structures that we have had in place for decades ripped apart to satisfy a dubious victory. We sail away with Johnson,s policies into an unknown future not knowing where we will end up.
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