British Commons researcher arrested for ‘espionage’ offences

Two males have been arrested beneath the Official Secrets Act over allegations {that a} parliamentary researcher spied for China.

The researcher has had hyperlinks to a number of senior Conservative MPs, together with safety minister Tom Tugendhat and international affairs committee chairperson Alicia Kearns.

The Briton was arrested together with one other man by officers on 13 March on suspicion of spying for Beijing, it was revealed by the Sunday Times.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, which oversees espionage-related offences, are investigating.

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

Both have been held on suspicion of offences beneath part one of many Official Secrets Act 1911, which punishes offences which can be stated to be “prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state”.

“Searches were also carried out at both the residential properties, as well as at a third address in east London,” a press release from the pressure stated.

Both males have been held at a south London police station till being bailed till early October.

Mr Tugendhat is alleged to not have had any contact with the researcher since earlier than he grew to become safety minister in September final 12 months.

Ms Kearns declined to remark, including: “While I recognise the public interest, we all have a duty to ensure any work of the authorities is not jeopardised.”

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The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China stress group stated it was “appalled at reports of the infiltration of the UK parliament by someone allegedly acting on behalf of the People’s Republic of China”.

A supply near Ms Kearns advised the PA information company: “It is inevitable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would target and seek to undermine parliament’s leading voices who have demonstrated the ability to constrain the CCP’s ambitions.”

They stated that the allegations, if true, could be a “serious escalation and shows the CCP will go to any length to attack thorns in their side”.

The arrests emerged a little bit over every week after international secretary James Cleverly visited Beijing amid criticism from some senior Conservatives, who’re critics of China.

He insisted the UK would have a “pragmatic” relationship with China to deal with main international points akin to local weather change.

Former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of many occasion’s most outstanding critics of China, warned of a “deepening threat” being posed by the nation beneath President Xi Jinping.

Sir Iain advised PA: “This story gives the lie to the government’s attempt not to see China as a systemic threat.

“Time for us to recognise the deepening threat that the CCP under Xi now pose. What price was Cleverly’s kowtow visit to Beijing?”

A report from parliament’s spy company watchdog, the intelligence and safety committee, warned in July that Beijing is focusing on the UK “prolifically and aggressively”.

Last 12 months, MI5 issued a uncommon safety alert, warning MPs {that a} suspected Chinese spy known as Christine Lee had engaged in “political interference activities” on behalf of China’s ruling communist regime.

Labour MP Barry Gardiner, the previous chairperson of the now disbanded Chinese in Britain APPG, acquired greater than £500,000 in donations from her earlier than the warning.

Downing Street and the House of Commons each declined to remark, citing their insurance policies on safety issues.

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