We cannot set a date to end Huawei involvement yet - Dowden

Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden is seen outside Cabinet office in Whitehall in London, Britain, March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Tuesday the government was not in a position to set out a specific date to strip out “high-risk” vendors, such as China’s Huawei, from its future 5G network but would give lawmakers a say over new laws.

Dowden was trying to ease concerns among a group of Conservative lawmakers, who have threatened to rebel against the government over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei a role in building the country’s 5G network, unless ministers commit to an end date.

“We’re not in a position today to set out a specific date or timetable for reaching no high-risk vendors, that would require a new decision to be taken by the National Security Council,” he told parliament.

He said the government would work with other “five eyes” intelligence partners to develop new supply chain capacity during the course of the parliament, which is due to end in 2024, and would allow lawmakers to air their concerns before new legislation was introduced on telecommunications security.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Paul Sandle