Chinese CCTV cameras that captured Matt Hancock’s affair with a senior aide are to be banned from Government buildings under new national security rules.
New laws on public sector procurement will see providers including Hikvision and Dahua, two leading Chinese CCTV manufacturers, blocked from the British state.
Under the new Procurement Bill, companies subject to China’s National Security Law will be banned from bidding on public contracts.
It comes amid mounting fears that Chinese companies could offer a backdoor for espionage by Beijing. China’s National Security Law, passed in 2021, requires locally-headquartered companies to hand over any information required by state intelligence agencies should they be asked.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative leader, and Alicia Kearns MP, chairman of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, had campaigned to ban providers including Hikvision from parliament and government buildings over national security concerns.
Hikvision has said that it is “categorically false” that the company is a security threat.
Ms Kearns said: “I’m delighted the Government has listened and acted following my efforts to put national security at the heart of the Procurement Bill.
“From local councils to power plants, and security bodies such as GCHQ, we must make sure hostile states cannot embed state-subsidised hostile technologies into our lives.”
Mr Hancock, formerly the health secretary, was caught on Hikvision-made CCTV cameras in a passionate embrace with aide Gina Coladangelo, who he had appointed as a non-executive director of the Department of Health. The scandal led to his resignation.
A criminal inquiry into the leaking of the footage to The Sun was closed without action after investigators said there was not enough evidence to bring charges. There is no suggestion that Hikvision was involved in leaking the footage.
Hikvision cameras were until recently commonplace in Government departments.
Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, last year ordered sensitive Government buildings to stop deploying cameras subject to Chinese security laws and the Departments of Health and Social Care and Work and Pensions have pledged to remove them.
Cabinet Office Minister Alex Burghart said: “It’s absolutely right we continue to look at ways to strengthen central government rules when it comes to national security and I have no doubt these additional measures will ensure the Bill delivers on its objective to have a robust, modern procurement process which delivers for the British people.”
Beijing’s National Security Law has triggered a wave of crackdowns on Chinese companies across the Western world, most notably on Huawei and TikTok.