Barry Gardiner is among the MPs who have received significant donations
MI5 issued a statement warning MPs and colleagues to be aware that a Chinese government agent was targeting politicians.
Westminster has been rocked after British intelligence warned that a Chinese “spy” named Christine Lee works at the heart of British politics, distributing sizeable donations to MPs, receiving personal thanks from Theresa May and rubbing shoulders with David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn .
Details are contained in a Security Service Interference Alert (SSIA) distributed to MPs by Commons spokesman Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
The memo said: “I am writing to you now to draw your attention to the attached MI5 security service disruption alert regarding the activities of a person, Christine Lee, who has been involved in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, in contact with Members here in Parliament and associated political entities including the former APPG: Chinese in Britain.
“I should highlight the fact that Lee has facilitated financial donations to serving and prospective MPs on behalf of foreigners based in Hong Kong and China.
“This facilitation was done covertly to disguise the origin of the payments. This is clearly unacceptable behavior and steps are being taken to ensure that it stops. “
Ms Lee is known to have given donations to former Labor Party frontbencher Barry Gardiner, but is also said to have given money to other MPs.
Mr Gardiner received nearly £62,000 in 2019 and 2020, according to the Members’ Register of Interests.
Ms. Lee is believed to have targeted MPs and colleagues to influence them on behalf of the United Front Work Department, which is part of the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms Lee’s son, Daniel Wilkes, was also employed in Mr Gardiner’s office but resigned on Thursday morning.
According to MI5, the aim is to attack MPs with the aim of “cultivating individuals with the aim of furthering the CCP’s agenda and challenging those who disagree with its principles”.
The Chinese worker was even awarded a No10 Point of Light award for her community service after receiving a personal letter from then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019.
Since then, pictures of Ms Lee standing shoulder to shoulder with former Prime Minister David Cameron and former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn have surfaced.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the revelations were of “grave concern” as he called for an overhaul of the Commons accreditation of people he described as “much too lax”.
He added that he understood that the person “must not be deported and no further action needs to be taken.”
“How can it be that an agent of a foreign despotic and despicable power, out to impoverish many of these people, how can he put someone in Parliament – this mother of all parliaments – and then that person has nothing to do ? them, except they are not allowed in Parliament.
“It’s certainly not good enough,” said Mr. Duncan Smith.
The Spokesman’s Office has confirmed that an alert has been issued in relation to the activities of a suspected Chinese agent.
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 has issued this notice in consultation with the security services. There are no further comments on this matter.”
In a statement, Mr Gardiner said he has been in touch with the security services through Christine Lee for “a number of years” and they have always known and credited me fully for her commitment to my office and the donations she has made, have funded researchers in my office in the past”.
“Steps have been taken to ensure that Christine Lee has no role in the appointment or management of these researchers. You also know that I personally have not benefited in any way from these donations. She stopped funding employees in my office in June 2020,” he added.
Mr Gardiner added in his statement: “Christine Lee’s son volunteered at my office many years ago and was subsequently hired by me as a diary manager. He quit my job this morning. The security services have informed me that they have no information showing that he knew about or participated in his mother’s illegal activities.”