Christine Lee, a woman accused of seeking covert influence with British lawmakers, has installed MPs over Chinese investment interests in nuclear power and battery technology. The independent one understands.
Ms Lee, who has been accused of “political interference” by security agency MI5, attempted, directly and indirectly, to change MPs’ language on a variety of issues related to critical national infrastructure, including energy, manufacturing and telecoms, sources said LatestPageNews.
The alert to MPs said Ms Lee had joined forces with “individuals from across the UK political spectrum” to advance the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda.
Among the issues Ms Lee tried to steer allegedly included China’s involvement in the Hinkley C nuclear power plant and Sizewell. She is understood to have sought influence from a number of UK lawmakers, including Labor MP Barry Gardiner.
Ms Lee donated more than £500,000 to fund Mr Gardiner’s office, records show. Her son worked for the MP until Thursday morning, although he was not named in the statement from the parliamentary authorities.
Mr. Gardiner tells Sky news on Thursday that he had been “open and honest” with security services about his relationship with Ms. Lee for several years and was never warned about involvement with the attorney.
He said he was unaware that “Christine Lee is a spy” until this morning. He added that any discussions with Ms Lee about government policy were “not very detailed”.
Mr Gardiner advocated maintaining Chinese ownership of Hinkley C while serving as Labor Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Shadow Minister for Business and Energy in September 2016.
He said, “You [the government] risked a diplomatic row with one of our key future trading partners and ended up pretending to grab powers they already had.”
The MP also made a number of supportive remarks in response to a ministerial statement on a review of an £18bn deal to build nuclear power capacity in Somerset, which could pose safety risks.
Mr Gardiner criticized the government’s moves to ensure it could intervene in the sale of French energy company EDF’s stake in critical infrastructure once it is completed. The move was aimed at preventing it from passing into Chinese ownership, according to a person with knowledge of the review.
The then-shadow secretary of state said: “…of course, every member of the House of Representatives agrees that the primary responsibility of government is to ensure our national security, but neither the Secretary of State nor the Prime Minister have ever been clear about what they think of the security risks posed.” associated with the current deal.”
Mr Gardiner then suggested that Chinese involvement in the UK nuclear project posed no threat to sensitive intellectual property – a common charge leveled against Chinese state-owned companies.
The MP also said that there is no cybersecurity risk arising from the Chinese involvement as the project is “a sign of the commercialization of their Hualong One reactor technology worldwide” and therefore “such an attack would undermine the very reason the Chinese are involved.” wanted the project at all?”.
Senior Tory MP Sir Ian Duncan Smith told Sky News that Mr Gardiner must “open up” all his correspondence with Ms Lee. Sir Ed Davey received a £5,000 donation from Ms Lee in 2013 when he was Energy Secretary in the Coalition Government. A spokesman for Lib Dem said Sir Ed was “shocked by these revelations”.
In 2019, then Prime Minister Theresa May presented Ms. Lee with an award for building links between the Chinese community and broader British society.