UK Facing Pressure To Take Stronger Stance On China

0 248

The British Government is facing pressure to take stronger action against Beijing, after a parliamentary researcher was arrested amid accusations he spied for China.

Senior Conservative MPs have called for China to be categorised as a threat, a move backed by some cabinet Ministers.

Rishi Sunak raised concerns about interference from Beijing with China’s Premier while at the G20 summit in India.

The Prime Minister said an open dialogue with China was necessary.

Police confirmed on Saturday that two men were arrested under the Official Secrets Act in March.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “A man in his 30s was arrested at an address in Oxfordshire and a man in his 20s was arrested at an address in Edinburgh.

Searches were also carried out at both the residential properties, as well as at a third address in East London.”

The Sunday Times reported the researcher had access to security Minister Tom Tugendhat and Foreign Affairs committee Chairwoman Alicia Kearns, among others.

The arrest of the parliamentary researcher has renewed a debate which has been raging in the Conservative Party for months: Should the Government take a stricter approach on China?

Ministers have so far resisted branding Beijing a threat.

Sunak said that he had raised “very strong concerns” about any interference in British democracy with China’s Premier Li Qiang.

But he also said the UK should not be “carping from the side-lines” and it was better to be in the room raising concerns.

He said the UK was right to “engage” with the Country but Mr Sunak had highlighted the need to “proceed with caution.”