Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newly installed head of communications reportedly lobbied the government on behalf of controversial Chinese tech company Huawei.
Over the weekend, Guto Harri, a former BBC journalist and ex-presenter for GB News — who left the station after controversially taking the knee for BLM on live television — announced that he had resigned from his post with lobbying firm Hawthorn Advisers to once again direct communications for Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister is looking to reset the political narrative after months of scandals surrounding apparent breaches of the lockdown measures his government created.
However, the new spin doctor has become a source of controversy himself, with Brexit leader Nigel Farage sarcastically writing: “A woke Remainer is just what Boris needs in Number 10!” in reference to Harri’s appointment.
“I am sure that Tory voters will be thrilled to know that Guto Harri has been working for Hawthorn… who lobby for Huawei,” Farage added on Sunday.
Just hours after the Brexiteer’s comments, The Sun newspaper reported that Harri had a “hands-on role” in lobbying the government on behalf of the Chinese telecom during his time at Hawthorn.
Sources close to the spin doctor said that his work on behalf of Huawei — which has been described as “effectively state-owned” by the communist regime — should not be of concern considering its role in providing 3G and 4G coverage in Britain.
In 2020, the government decided to ban Huawei from the country’s 5G networks by 2027 in light of concerns raised by the Trump administration that the company has embedded “backdoor access” into its technology, and therefore is a potential espionage threat.
A Downing Street source said of Harri: “This is separate to his new role in No10. This Government is committed to removing Huawei from UK 5G networks by 2027.”
Harri rose to national attention last summer after infamously carrying out the Black Lives Matter performative gesture of “taking the knee” in response to alleged football racism while he was presenting live on GB News, leading to a ratings crash for the upstart “anti-woke” news network.
A woke Remainer is just what Boris needs in Number 10! pic.twitter.com/dm34KXB0r1
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 5, 2022
The left-wing Labour Party has nonetheless criticised Harri’s connections to China, with a spokesman telling the paper: “We can’t have the revolving door from lobbying to Government see potential national security issues arise.”
Deputy leader Angela Rayner added: “We need full transparency from Guto Harri about all contact he had with Government in his former role and who his clients were.”
The Labour Party has itself been embroiled in scandal surrounding its own connections to the murderous regime in Beijing.
The security service MI5 revealed last month that an alleged spy for the Chinese Communist Party, Christine Lee, had donated hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling to Labour MP Barry Gardiner, an acolyte of far-left former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Guto Harri is also far from unique amongst the British elite in having deep ties to China, or indeed Huawei itself.
The former head of the BT Group (formerly British Telecom) Sir Michael Rake, for example, served on the board of Huawei from 2019 until 2021.
Other establishment figures, such as former CEO of British Petroleum (BP) Lord John Browne, civil servant Sir Andrew Cahn, and former chancellor of the University of Southampton, Dame Helen Alexander have all advised the Chinese company.
‘Money, Money, Money!’ — Farage Accuses British Elites of Covering up Chinese Takeover https://t.co/BsrbGTnRM4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 27, 2021
Relations between China and the UK have soured over Beijing’s brutal crackdown in the former British colony of Hong Kong, which the UK has asserted violates the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration which promised the city freedom from communist rule for fifty years following the Hong Kong Handover in 1997.
The situation was further strained following the CCP’s decision to sanction British lawmakers for highlighting the “genocide” against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
Yet despite all of this, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak is reportedly looking to reset relations in order to increase trade with China.
Though the communist state has been accused of using slave labour to manufacture its products at a cheaper cost than the West, Sunak will look to make a “complete sea change” in relations at an upcoming UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue summit, The Telegraph reported in January.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have ruffled feathers in Zhongnanhai with his decision to ban Huawei, the Tory leader has consistently sought friendly relations with China in an apparent bid for a large-scale post-Brexit trade deal with the communist country.
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka