Sunak confronts Chinese premier over ‘interference’ in UK after spying claims

Rishi Sunak has confronted the Chinese language premier over “interference” in UK democracy, amid claims {that a} parliamentary researcher was spying for China.

The Prime Minister met Li Qiang shortly earlier than his departure from the G20 summit in India on Sunday morning.

A Downing Avenue spokesman stated: “The Prime Minister met Premier Li Qiang and conveyed his important issues about Chinese language interference [in] the UK’s parliamentary democracy.”

The confrontation got here after a British parliamentary researcher was arrested on suspicion of spying for China in a significant safety breach at Westminster.

The person, who’s aged in his late twenties, is believed to be related to quite a few senior Tory MPs, together with a quantity who’ve entry to categorised or extremely delicate info.

The suspect labored alongside MPs on worldwide coverage, together with relations with Beijing, for quite a few years and was a parliamentary cross holder.

They embody Tom Tugendhat, the safety minister, and Alicia Kearn, the chairwoman of the overseas affairs committee.

He was arrested together with one other man on suspicion of espionage-related offences on March 13.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s counter terrorism command, which oversees espionage-related offences, are investigating.

One of many males, in his 30s, was detained in Oxfordshire on March 13, whereas the opposite, in his 20s, was arrested in Edinburgh, Scotland Yard stated.

The person in his 20s is believed to have labored on worldwide coverage with MPs together with Tom Tugendhat – ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Pictures

A senior Whitehall supply advised the The Sunday Occasions: “This can be a main escalation by China. We’ve by no means seen something like this earlier than.”

Safety officers worry he was recruited throughout his time dwelling and dealing in China.

Scotland Yard stated: “Officers from the Metropolitan Police arrested two males on March 13 on suspicion of offences below part one of many Official Secrets and techniques Act 1911.

“A person in his thirties was arrested at an handle in Oxfordshire and a person in his twenties was arrested at an handle in Edinburgh.

“Searches have been additionally carried out at each the residential properties, in addition to at a 3rd handle in east London. Each males have been taken to a south London police station and have been launched on police bail till a date in early October.”

The Telegraph understands that Mr Tugendhat, a former chairman of the Commons overseas affairs committee, has not spoken to the person since he grew to become safety minister final September.

Ms Kearns declined to remark in a submit on Twitter within the wake of the report.

Alicia Kearns

The person can be believed to have labored with Alicia Kearn, the chairwoman of the overseas affairs committee – Heathcliff O’Malley

She added: “Whereas I recognise the general public curiosity, all of us have an obligation to make sure any work of the authorities will not be jeopardised.”

A supply near Ms Kearns stated: “It’s no shock Alicia and Tom have been focused, given their forged iron report on altering laws on China – pushing the Authorities to be harder on the Chinese language communist occasion from the Procurement Invoice to Newport Wafer Fab, to Confucius institutes, getting unlawful Chinese language police stations closed and past.

“That is what hostile states do – goal and search to undermine these they’ll’t silence. They’ve failed once more.”

Ken McCallum, the top of MI5, has beforehand underlined that the Chinese language Communist Occasion poses “essentially the most game-changing strategic problem” to the UK.

Additional issues have been raised that China is focusing on the UK “prolifically and aggressively”, in line with the Commons intelligence and safety committee, which revealed a report again in July.

However the committee warned that authorities departments didn’t have the “assets, experience or information” to deal with the menace.

Labour’s shadow dwelling secretary Yvette Cooper stated: “That is an immensely critical report and exhibits why the UK wants a way more complete response to nationwide safety threats and challenges from China and different international locations.

“It comes at a time when the Authorities additionally wants to clarify critical safety failings over the escape of a prisoner charged with nationwide safety offences.”

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