UK espionage arrests: Rishi Sunak denounces ‘interference’ from Beijing

A police launch boat passes The Houses of Parliament in London
A police launch boat passes The Houses of Parliament in London Copyright Tim Graham/Getty Images
By Euronews with AFP
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The Prime Minister made the comments after it emerged that two men had been arrested on suspicion of spying for China.


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed "deep concern" about "Chinese interference in British parliamentary democracy" to his Chinese counterpart, following the revelation of the arrests of two men on espionage charges.

Police have confirmed that the pair were arrested under the Official Secrets Act as The Sunday Times revealed one of the men, in his 20s, was a parliamentary researcher with links to several Conservatives MPs.

He and another man in his 30s were arrested in March, the Metropolitan Police confirmed.

On Sunday morning, Downing Street announced Sunak had expressed "significant concerns" about Chinese interference to a senior official from China.

A spokesperson said: "The prime minister met Premier Li Qiang and conveyed his significant concerns about Chinese interference in the UK's parliamentary democracy".

The arrested man is alleged to have had links to Security Minister Tom Tugendhat and foreign affairs committee chairwoman Alicia Kearns, among other high profile figures.

He has been confirmed as a Briton who has previously worked on international politics, particularly on relations with Beijing.

Last year, British intelligence revealed the case of a Chinese government agent, Christine Lee, claiming she "engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, through dialogue with members of Parliament".

Earlier this year, the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee made claims that China was targeting the UK, saying questions must be asked about whether more action should be taken to mitigate potential risks.

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