Downing Street has said it is “deeply concerning” that a suspected Chinese agent was able to target MPs in an attempt make British policy more favourable to Beijing.
MI5 has taken the rare step of circulating a warning to MPs that Christine Lee, a prominent London-based solicitor, has been engaged in “political interference activities” on behalf of China’s ruling communist regime.
The claims were angrily dismissed by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman who accused the UK Government of being “too obsessed with James Bond 007 movies”.
However, a No 10 spokesman made clear the issue was being taken seriously and that ministers remained committed to strengthening anti-espionage legislation through a new counter-state threats bill.
“It will be deeply concerning that an individual who is knowingly engaged in the interference activities of the Chinese Communist Party targeted parliamentarians,” the spokesman said.
“Safeguarding our democracy will always be an absolute priority for this Government.
“We have robust systems in place but we will always ensure security services and law enforcement have the powers they need to tackle future threats.”
Earlier, Security Minister, Damian Hinds appeared to indicate that a review would take place into how Ms Lee was able to get so close to senior politicians.
Asked on LBC if there will be a review into the way she operated, he said: “Yes. We’re learning all the time, all the implications, of course, have to be able to be taken into account.”
However, officials later indicated that he was simply referring to the fact that the situation was being kept under review.