Government ministers are calling for a “full and proper” investigation after high-level discussions about the UK using Huawei technology were leaked.
The government has approved the supply of equipment by the Chinese telecoms firm for the UK’s new 5G data network despite warnings of a security risk.
It is believed the decision was taken at a meeting of the government’s national security council on Tuesday.
One minister said leaking from the council was “simply not acceptable”.
According to the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, the senior minister said leaking from conversations was “extraordinary…the security council is the holy of holies”.
The minister said there had to be a “full and proper leak enquiry”, with those responsible losing their jobs if necessary.
There is no formal confirmation about the UK using Huawei technology. Number 10 said a final decision would be made at the end of spring.
Huawei has denied that its work poses any risks of espionage or sabotage.
What is 5G?
5G is the next (fifth) generation of mobile internet connectivity, promising much faster data download and upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections.
The world is going mobile and existing spectrum bands are becoming congested, leading to breakdowns, particularly when many people in one area are trying to access services at the same time.
5G is also much better at handling thousands of devices simultaneously, from phones to equipment sensors, video cameras to smart street lights.
Current 4G mobile networks can offer speeds of about 45mbps (megabits per second) on average and experts say 5G – which is starting to be introduced in the UK this year – could achieve browsing and downloads up to 20 times faster.