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UK MPs Call for China to be Designated as a Threat Following Discovery of ‘Espionage Cell’ in Parliament

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss has expressed concern over China’s threat to freedom and democracy worldwide and called on the UK government to designate it as a threat to the country. Truss made these remarks in response to allegations of a Chinese espionage cell infiltrating the government. MPs expressed their surprise at not being informed about the arrests related to the spying claims and demanded transparency from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command is currently investigating the matter. Truss emphasized the need to recognize China as the largest threat to democracy and take appropriate actions to protect the nation’s security and democratic values. Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden echoed Truss’s sentiments, highlighting China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and its suppression of dissent in Hong Kong. Dowden also mentioned the government’s measures to counter Chinese influence, including banning TikTok from government devices and addressing Chinese overseas police service stations. MPs questioned Dowden about when the government became aware of the spying allegations, with opposition leaders calling for a review of the decision-making process to ensure transparency in the future. Truss and other MPs pressed Dowden for the UK’s response to the espionage claims and urged him to designate China as a threat. Dowden assured that the government is aware of the challenge China poses and would take necessary steps to protect the nation and its democratic institutions. The discussions in the Commons also touched upon the lack of information provided to MPs about the case and the researcher at the center of the allegations. The researcher, who remains unnamed by police and MPs, denied the accusations and asserted his innocence, stating that he has dedicated his career to raising awareness about the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party. The Labour Party called on Sunak to reveal if Cleverly discussed the Chinese spying reports during his visit to China in August. Sunak mentioned the ongoing investigation and assured that the government will not tolerate any interference in its democracy.

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