Britain’s home intelligence service MI5 has warned MPs about the actions of a suspected Chinese government agent in parliament, authorities said on Thursday.
According to Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, a very critical of the Chinese regime, who spoke to his peers, “the president (of the House of Commons) has been contacted by MI5” and in turn, “warns MPs that” a Chinese government official has been active in parliament ”.
The services of the President of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, confirmed that a notice had been issued “in consultation with the security services”, without further comment.
“I know that many will be very concerned that an individual who knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Communist Party of China has targeted parliamentarians,” the minister tweeted. Interior Priti Patel. She stressed, however, that this identification was “the result of the strong structures put in place in the UK to identify foreign interference or any potential threat to our democracy”.
I know it will be deeply concerning to many that an individual who has knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party has targeted parliamentarians.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) January 13, 2022
A role of facilitator in the payment of financial donations
The Chinese Embassy in London denied the accusations, saying: “We do not need and never seek to ‘buy influence’ in a foreign parliament.” “We strongly oppose the defamation and intimidation against the Chinese community in the UK,” she added.
The warning notice issued by MI5, quoted by the media, identifies the alleged agent as Christine Lee and emphasizes that she “knowingly engaged in activities of political interference on behalf of the Front’s Department of Labor.” united of the Chinese Communist Party ”.
She played a facilitating role in the payment of “financial donations to political parties, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians and people considering political office in the United Kingdom”, according to the same source, on behalf of foreign nationals based in China. or in Hongkong.
Christine Lee has reportedly paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to Barry Gardiner, a former senior Labor leader, as well as to the party itself. She was also pictured with former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron at an event in 2015, as well as on another occasion with former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
An overhaul of parliamentary accreditation rules requested
In 2019, Christine Lee was decorated by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition of her contribution to good relations with China.
In a statement, Barry Gardiner assured that all donations were properly reported, adding that Christine Lee’s son was working for him until his resignation on Thursday.
MP Iain Duncan Smith expressed concern that Christine Lee was not arrested, but only barred from entering parliament. He also called for an overhaul of the parliamentary accreditation rules.
The elected official is one of the British personalities targeted by Beijing sanctions for their criticism of the treatment of Uyghurs.