Business Insider – 13 January 2022
MI5 has issued a rare warning to British politicians to avoid a woman suspected of being a Chinese agent.
In a letter to British parliamentarians sent on Thursday, the UK’s Security Service named Christine Lee, a solicitor, as having “knowingly engaged in political interference activities” on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.
Electoral Commission records show Lee’s firm has given more than £427,000 in financial support to Labour MP Barry Gardiner since 2015.
Lee’s son has worked for Gardiner as a parliamentary aide, the Daily Mail reported, in what Gardiner described as an “open appointment process,” and he said the son was given the job “on merit.”
MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and chair of the China Research Group, told Insider: “Our security services are rightly focussed on state threats in the UK. It is clear that the challenge from Beijing is increasing and we need to defend our democracy against hostile activity.”
The woman’s law firm, with offices in London, Birmingham, and Beijing, was chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London, the Times reported.
The alert, sent to Insider by a Westminster source, can be seen below.
A spokeswoman for the Speaker’s office said: “The Speaker takes the security of Members and the democratic process very seriously, which is why he issued this notice in consultation with the security services. There is no further comment on this matter.”
Gardiner’s office has been contacted for comment. A spokesperson at Lee’s office in London said she was not available at the moment.