The former head of MI5 has accused ministers of failing to act on warnings that might have stopped an alleged Chinese agent infiltrating Westminster and described foreign interference as a “live and present threat” to democracy. Lord Evans of Weardale, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the case of Christine Lee, who was identified by the security services last week, demonstrated the need to address vulnerabilities in the political system. Lee, 58, “knowingly engaged in political interference” on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to the warning circulated by MI5. She has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund staff in the parliamentary office of Barry Gardiner, formerly Labour’s shadow international trade secretary. She denies wrongdoing. Evans, a crossbench peer, said ministers had ignored recommendations his committee had made to protect politics from “powerful forces out there that are trying to bring undue influence”. In a report last year, he said more had to be done to identify the “true source” of donations and called for tighter rules on the flow of money via lobbying groups or shell companies.
Times 15th Jan 2022 read more »
The name is innocuous enough, as is the large nameless compound it occupies next to Communist Party headquarters in downtown Beijing. But the United Front Work Department is one of the most important tools of Communist Party power, a “magic weapon”, as Mao once called it. Until last week, it was targeting Britain with little resistance. The broad aim of united front work is to influence opinion and policy in favour of China.
Times 16th Jan 2022 read more »