The British intelligence agency, MI5, has reportedly issued a warning to the ruling Conservative Party, alerting them to the presence of two potential parliamentary candidates with alleged ties to Chinese espionage.
According to a report in the Times newspaper today (Wednesday), the Conservative Party swiftly took action by blocking the candidacy of these individuals after MI5's disclosure of their connections to China. This action was taken in 2021 and 2022.
Health and Social Care Minister Maria Caulfield, in an interview with Times Radio, emphasized the government's commitment to addressing any concerns related to Chinese interference. She stated, "Immediate action has been taken; they have been removed from the list and will not be eligible to stand for election."
This development comes amid heightened apprehension regarding Chinese activities in Britain, following the recent revelation that a parliamentary investigator had been arrested in March on suspicion of espionage on behalf of Beijing.
In response to these allegations, China has categorically denied them, dismissing the claims as "fabricated" and urging political parties to refrain from what they view as "anti-China manipulation," characterizing it as a "political farce."
It's worth noting that Britain's security services have long cautioned about the threat posed by Chinese espionage. MI5 director-general Ken McCallum remarked last year that Chinese authorities had engaged in aggressive tactics in developing contacts.