Rishi Sunak conveys UK’s spying concerns to China at G20 Summit


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday conveyed the UK’s “significant concerns” about alleged Chinese interference in the UK’s parliamentary democracy to the country’s Premier at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, after a UK media report revealed spying charges against two men.Sunak met Li Qiang as ‘The Sunday Times’ reported that two men were arrested under the UK’s Official Secrets Act amid claims a parliamentary researcher in Britain spied for China. One of the men, in his 20s, was a researcher with links to several governing Conservative Party MPs and another man in his 30s were both said to have been arrested in March and now out on bail.
“The Prime Minister met Premier Li Qiang and conveyed his significant concerns about Chinese interference in the UK’s parliamentary democracy,” a 10 Downing Street spokesperson said. Both men were held at a south London police station until being released on bail until early October. The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, which oversees espionage-related offences, is investigating the case. “A man in his 30s was arrested at an address in Oxfordshire and a man in his 20s 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,” the Met Police said.
The parliamentary researcher has been linked, among others, with UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat but is said not to have had any contact with the senior politician since before he became a Cabinet minister in September last year.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China pressure group said 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”. The allegations come amid strained UK-China relations and weeks after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly became one of the senior-most UK government figures to visit Beijing, saying it was important to “manage” the country’s relationship with China across a range of issues.