Two contenders reportedly had links to the United Front Work Department, which is behind most, if not all, of the Chinese Communist Party’s influence campaigns.
The Conservative Party took “swift action” and dropped potential candidates whom MI5 suspected to be Chinese spies, a minister said.
Health and women minister Maria Caulfield made the remarks on Thursday after a report said the Security Service warned the party about two potential candidates in 2021 and 2022.
Citing an unnamed source, the report said it had been “made very clear” that the potential candidates posed a risk, and they had subsequently been blocked without being told of the reason.
In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, a spokesman said, “When we receive credible information regarding security concerns over potential candidates we act upon them.”
Ms. Caulfield said any ruling party would be a target for influence and espionage.
“I think whichever party is in government, there will always be those who are trying to target it, either to get information or to influence,” she told Times Radio.
“The story that we have heard about today about the candidates who the Conservative Party were warned about, swift action was taken and they were removed from the list. They are not standing for election.”
The minister said the report shows that the Tories “will take that very seriously, the same with the researcher in Parliament,” referring to a parliamentary researcher arrested in March over suspicions that he may have been spying and influencing for the Chinese regime.
“It does show that there are other nations always wanting to infiltrate government of all parties. But we have shown that we take that seriously and act swiftly when that intelligence comes forward,” she said.
The two men in their twenties and thirties, who have not been officially identified, were released on bail until a date in October.
The Times of London said the parliamentary researcher was connected to senior Tories, including Alicia Kearns, the chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and her predecessor Tom Tugendhat before he became the security minister.
The report also said the man had worked with MPs for a number of years on foreign policy “including relations with Beijing.”
He has denied the accusations against him, saying he’s “completely innocent” in a statement issued via his lawyers.