Suspected Chinese spy found working in Parliament - with link to senior Government figures Tugendhat and Kearns

9 September 2023, 21:11 | Updated: 10 September 2023, 10:49

The man, who is reportedly in his 20s, is said to have connections to security minister Tom Tugendhat and foreign affairs committee chairman Alicia Kearns.
The man, who is reportedly in his 20s, is said to have connections to security minister Tom Tugendhat and foreign affairs committee chairman Alicia Kearns. Picture: Getty

By Chay Quinn

A researcher in Parliament was arrested on suspicion of being a Chinese spy in March.

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The man, who is reportedly in his 20s, is said to have connections to security minister Tom Tugendhat and foreign affairs committee chairman Alicia Kearns.

The researcher is said to have visited and lived in China in the past, and The Times reports that the individuals linked to the man have access to "classified or highly sensitive information".

Read More: Rishi Sunak 'confident' over trade deal between UK and India following talks with Narendra Modi at G20 summit

Reports indicate that the man could have been recruited as a sleeper agent during his time in China and sent back to the UK to infiltrate.

Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street
The man, who is reportedly in his 20s, is said to have connections to security minister Tom Tugendhat. Picture: Getty

The Official Secret Act was the framework under which the man, one of two arrested, was collared by the police on March 13.

A senior Whitehall source told The Times that the situation is a "major escalation" by China, adding that the country has "never seen anything like this before".

Scotland Yard said in a statement: "Officers from the Metropolitan Police arrested two men on March 13 on suspicion of offences under section one of the Official Secrets Act 1911.

"A man in his thirties was arrested at an address in Oxfordshire and a man in his twenties was arrested at an address in Edinburgh. Searches were also carried out at both the residential properties, as well as at a third address in east London.

"Both men were taken to a south London police station and were released on police bail until a date in early October."

Last year, MI5 issued a rare security alert, warning MPs that a suspected Chinese spy called Christine Lee had engaged in "political interference activities" on behalf of China's ruling communist regime.

Labour MP Barry Gardiner, the former chairman of the now disbanded Chinese in Britain APPG, received more than £500,000 in donations from her before the warning.

TOPSHOT-BRITAIN-WEATHER-HEAT
The Official Secret Act was the framework under which the man, one of two arrested, was collared by the police on March 13. Picture: Getty

The arrests emerged a little over a week after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited Beijing amid criticism from some senior Conservatives, who are critics of China.

He insisted the UK would have a "pragmatic" relationship with China to tackle major global issues such as climate change.

Downing Street said it does not comment on security matters. The House of Commons has been contacted.

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