Spies in Our Midst
MI5 has alerted the Conservative Party that two candidates vying to become Members of Parliament may be working as Chinese spies, according to sources. The security services reached out to party leaders in 2021, recommending that the suspected traitors be barred from the general election candidates’ list.
Concerns Over Chinese Government Influence
The Times reports that MI5 had concerns that the individuals had connections to the United Front Work Department, an infamous Chinese government body known for its efforts to influence international politics. Based on these concerns, the suspected spies were ultimately excluded from the Tory candidates’ list.
Commitment to National Security
A spokesperson for the Conservative Party assured that security concerns are taken seriously: "When we receive credible information regarding security concerns over potential candidates, we act upon them."
Parliamentary Researcher Arrested
In an unrelated incident, Westminster was recently shocked by news of the arrest of a parliamentary researcher by counter-terror police from the Metropolitan Police. The individual, in their 20s, was later released on bail until October.
Secrecy Surrounding the Arrest
Despite the gravity of the situation, the arrest was concealed from the majority of ministers and senior MPs, causing uproar in Westminster. Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle cautioned against revealing the researcher's identity, citing the risk of prejudicing any future prosecutions.
Protestations of Innocence
The individual, speaking through a legal firm, issued an anonymous statement asserting their innocence: "Given what has been reported, it is vital it’s known I am completely innocent. I have spent my career trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party."
Protecting the Sanctity of Parliament
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stressed the importance of safeguarding Parliament, stating that its sanctity "must be protected." However, 10 Downing Street indicated that the controversy would not prevent inviting Beijing to Britain's upcoming AI summit later this year.
Questionable Hiring Decision
Foreign Affairs Committee head Alicia Kearns, who had hired the arrested researcher, faced criticism in the aftermath of the revelation.