Boris Johnson shelves Washington visit after US criticism over Huawei decision

Posted On: 
15th February 2020

Boris Johnson has cancelled plans to meet President Trump this month, after the US government criticised his decision to let Huawei help build Britain's 5G network.

 

The Prime Minister has cancelled his trip, but a US delegation will visit London on Wednesday
Credit: 
PA images

The Prime Minister had planned to visit Washington in the New Year to meet with Mr Trump, but the visit was postponed to February. 

The trip has now been cancelled over worries that Mr Trump will publicly criticise the government’s decision to give Huawei a role in building Britain’s 5G mobile network, according to The Times.

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Mr Trump is said to have been “apoplectic” over the Prime Minister’s decision to give the Chinese company a role in the new network.

The cancellation of the trip to Washington could mean that the Prime Minister doesn’t meet with President Trump until June’s G7 summit.

The decision has caused concern with Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, who wanted the government to negotiate a trade deal with the US in parallel with the EU. 

Steve Baker, chairman of the European Research Group, said: “We need to be negotiating with the US now. 

He told The Times: “I’m concerned that our negotiating mandate isn’t already out there. Time is running out with our best ally as we head to a presidential election.

“There’s a danger of failing to co-ordinate and excessively prioritising the trade deal with the EU. I am concerned to understand why the prime minister is not there already.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith said to the paper: “Success requires us to run both EU and US negotiations in lock-step. In that case we will be calling the shots. If we do it separately we will have no leverage, the European Union will hold all the cards. We will end up with no deal.

“Europe has got to understand and believe that we’ve got somewhere else to go and we don’t need them.”

WHITE HOUSE DELEGATION

US officials are set to visit London this week to raise further concerns over the decision to allow Huawei a role in building the 5G network. 

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s acting Chief of Staff, will lead the White House delegation on Wednesday to “call for the government to change its position”, a source told The Telegraph

They added: “One thing is on the agenda, and it’s not a trade deal. It’s Huawei.”

Tensions over the decision cooled appaered to cool on Friday, however, as the Trump administration dropped its threat to stop sharing security intelligence with the UK.

Robert B. Blair, a White House advisor, said: “We’ll have to take a hard look at how the implementation of this new policy – and it’s still a policy at this point – will affect our ability to take care of information with them, but there will be no erosion of our overall intelligence sharing operation with the Brits”.