The fallout has continued following the National Security Council leak of the decision to allow Huawei to participate in the UKs 5G infrastructure.
The Cabinet Secretary, Mark Sedwill, has reportedly launched a formal inquiry into which one of the cabinet ministers leaked the controversial decision. The inquiry reportedly began on Friday, as ministers and their aides were requested to fill in questionnaires regarding the leak. The questionnaire is said to request information about where the ministers were and what they were doing the hours following the meeting.
They were also asked about what methods of communication they used and whether they had been in contact with the telegraph newspaper, who broke the news.
All of the ministers have purportedly given consent for the Cabinet Secretary and his team to examine the record of their calls and messages.
There is some concern that the leak will damage the confidence that the UKs intelligence partners have in the UK. The UK has historically had a very robust intelligence regime, being part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance with the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
According to Gus O’Donnell, the previous Cabinet Secretary, ministers face having their phone records reviewed as part of the investigation.
Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, who is also under investigation due to the leak, has been vocal in his opposition to Huawei having a role in the 5G infrastructure in the UK.
What is the National Security Council?
The National Security Council sets forth the national security strategy for the United Kingdom. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and is comprised of senior ministers. These are usually the Cabinet Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Home Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary, the Business and Energy Secretary, the International Development Secretary and the Attorney General.
Why is there so much adversity against Huawei?
There is concern that as Huawei is headquartered in China, they can be compelled to cooperate with Chinese intelligence agencies.
In 2017, China enacted a law that can compel any Chinese company to assist with intelligence operations. The western world is worried that China intend to use Huawei to spy and interfere with western countries.
The United States has already banned Huawei from participating in their 5G infrastructure and are actively putting pressure on their allies to follow suit.