Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sparked a bizarre national security worry after he was spied using a Huawei phone on national television.
During an appearance on This Morning on Thursday, the PM took a selfie with hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, with what looked like a Huawei P20 handset.
Given there is controversy over whether the company should be allowed to play a role in building the UK’s 5G infrastructure, due to a perceived cosy relationship with the Chinese government, the presence of the handset in the hands of Britain’s most powerful man has raised eyebrows.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said the phone didn’t belong to him, but during the broadcast Willoughby said that “he whipped his phone out and he took a selfie.” However, it doesn’t seem like this is a regular occurrence for Johnson, with Schofield quipping that he “didn’t know he had to press the button…”
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Anyway, the image and an apparent beauty filter ended up on Johnson’s official Instagram feed (via Independent).
Johnson appears to have an open mind when it comes to allowing Huawei – which is often accused of spying on behalf of Beijing – participating in the growth of Britain’s 5G infrastructure. A government review is ongoing.
“On Huawei and 5G, I don’t want this country to be unnecessarily hostile to investment from overseas,” he said during the week’s NATO summit in London.
“On the other hand, we cannot prejudice our vital national security interests, nor can we prejudice our ability to co-operate with other Five Eyes security partners, and that will be how – that will be the key criterion that informs our decision about Huawei.”
In the United States, the Trump administration has banned US companies from working with Huawei, meaning its Android phones have been gutted of key Google services. However, it does have a temporary license to continue working on the roll out of services like broadband in rural communities.