British Prime Minister Theresa May has given the go-ahead to the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to help build the UK's new 5G network despite warnings of the potential threat to national security, it has been reported.
The National Security Council (NSC), which is chaired by the prime minister, agreed on Tuesday to allow the firm limited access to build "non-core" infrastructure such as antennas, according to The Daily Telegraph.
A number of ministers, including Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt were said to have raised concerns about the decision, according to the Telegraph.
Downing Street refused to comment on the report. A spokeswoman said: "We don't comment on NSC discussions."
The decision comes after a number of senior security figures warned publicly of the risks entailed in allowing a Chinese firm access to the UK's critical communications network.
MI6 chief Alex Younger has said Britain needs to decide how "comfortable" it is in allowing Chinese firms to become involved while the head of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming has spoken of both "opportunities and threats" which they present.
Some critics have expressed concerns that the Chinese government could require the firm to install technological "back doors" to enable it spy on or disable Britain's communications network.
Last month a government-led committee set up to vet Huawei's products said it had found "significant technological issues" with its engineering processes leading to new risks to the UK network.
The decision is likely to lead to fresh strains with the US, which has banned the Huawei from its government networks and urged others in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance - the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada - to do the same.
Huawei has denied having ties to the Chinese government, but critics question how independent any large Chinese company can be, with a legal obligation on firms to co-operate with the state's intelligence agencies.
Australian Associated Press