The British Parliament was recently rocked by the revelation that a parliamentary research aid who had established contacts with multiple senior Conservative members of Parliament was arrested for allegedly spying on behalf of China.
According to Politico, U.K. lawmakers found out from reports in the media over the weekend that China had used a parliamentary aide as a “mole” in Parliament, establishing connections with lawmakers and government officials, including Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Alicia Kearns and Tom Tugendhat, who is now the security minister.
Politico reported that the unnamed suspect was one of two alleged spies who are believed to have worked for China before being arrested earlier this year under the Official Secrets Act. Both suspects are currently out on bail until October, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to The Daily Record, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak discussed the alleged spying issue with China Premier Li Qiang, the second-highest official in the Chinese Communist Party during the recent G20 summit in India.
Sunak told U.K. lawmakers that he was “emphatic” with the Chinese premier that the alleged actions against the British government are “not acceptable and will never be tolerated.”
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China released a statement saying members were “appalled at reports of the infiltration of the U.K. Parliament by someone allegedly acting on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.”
However, China has denied its involvement in the alleged spying incident.
“The claim that China is suspected of ‘stealing British intelligence’ is completely fabricated and nothing but malicious slander,” a spokesperson of the Chinese embassy to the U.K. said. “We firmly oppose it and urge relevant parties in the U.K. to stop their anti-China political manipulation and stop putting on such self-staged political farce.”
As the British government responds to the allegations of a Chinese mole inside its government, the prime minister has made the issue a top priority for his administration. “We will defend our democracy and our security,” he said.