Intelligence service issues alert over Chinese spy targeting lawmakers

In the alert, MI5 said that the lobbying activities by Christine Lee, who runs a London law firm, included “extensive engagement with individuals across the UK political spectrum”. [Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA/EFE]

The UK intelligence services have issued an alert that a Chinese agent has been donating large sums of money to UK politicians before then attempting to build relationships between them and senior members of the Chinese Communist Party.

In the alert, MI5 said that the lobbying activities by Christine Lee, who runs a London law firm, included “extensive engagement with individuals across the UK political spectrum”.

They had been “undertaken in covert coordination with the United Front Work Department [of the CCP], with funding provided by foreign nationals located in China and Hong Kong”.

MPs to have received money from Ms Lee’s law firm include Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP who has received over £420,000 from Ms Lee since 2014, and Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats. Gardiner also employed Ms Lee’s son in his parliamentary office.

Speaking on Thursday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “deeply concerning” that someone “who has knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party has targeted parliamentarians”.

(Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe