Rishi Sunak takes China’s premier to task over bombshell Parliament spy story

Rishi Sunak arrives in India for 2023 G20 summit

Rishi Sunak has called the Chinese premier out in person during a tense showdown at the G20, after it emerged a spy had been placed at the heart of Westminster.

The Sunday Times revealed a Commons researcher with links to some of the most high-profile Tories has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

It is said to be one of the “most damaging breaches of security involving a hostile state” at Parliament.

A senior Whitehall source told the paper: “This is a major escalation by China. We have never seen anything like this before”.

Now the Prime Minister has ramped up his fury at the rogue communist state, taking Premier Li Qiang to task at the G20 in India.

READ MORE: Arrests as parliamentary researcher accused of being spy for China

A No. 10 spokesperson has said Mr Sunak “met Premier Li Qiang and conveyed his significant concerns about Chinese interference in the UK’s parliamentary democracy”.

The meeting between Mr Sunak and his Chinese counterpart had not previously been scheduled in their diaries.

The researcher had links to both Tom Tugendhat, the Security Minister, and Alicia Kearns, the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and an outspoken critic of China.

The man, in his late 20s, was arrested by counterterrorism police in Edinburgh on suspicion of espionage-related offences in March.

Section One of the Official Secrets Act concerns passing information over to enemies which may be useful to them, and or prejudicial to the safety or interests of Britain. He held a Commons pass up until that point.

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The Sunday Times reports he previously spent time living and working in China, where security officials believe he may have been recruited as a sleeper agent.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat is said to have only had limited contact with the researcher, and none at all since being appointed security minister.

A Whitehall source said: “I’m pretty sure he turned some backbenchers from China hawks into being apathetic about Beijing”.

“He was regularly complaining about a lack of nuance among China-sceptic MPs and seemed to have a particular issue with Iain Duncan Smith.”

Mr Dunan Smith has since responded by saying: “If true, this is very serious and of great concern. It shows that we cannot afford to be complacent about the threat that the CCP poses to the function of Parliament and our democratic way of life”.

Liz Truss endorsed his comments.

FCO Chairman Alicia Kearns MP last night said: “I am aware of the Sunday Times report. I will not be commenting.

“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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