A parliamentary researcher who was arrested under the Official Secrets Act and has been accused of being a “Chinese spy” has said he is “completely innocent.”
On Sunday this led to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confronting Chinese premier Li Qiang at the G20 summit in India over “unacceptable” interference in British democracy, with questions being asked should the government adopt a more robust approach to Beijing.
The House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will make a statement on Monday over the accusations of the researcher.
The researcher who is in his 20s had his solicitors to release a statement on Minday, “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’.
“It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place.
“However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent.
“I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party.
“To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch said that China is not a “foe” but a “challenge” and the claims of the researcher being a “Chinese spy” is “extremely serious.”
She was asked if China is a threat, Badenoch told Sky News, “I would define it as a challenge.
“I define China as a challenge because certainly from my job as business secretary working on international trade in particular, we see at international level just how significant China is, impacting the economies of countries all around the world.
“So I think across the world, China is becoming a very, very significant challenge.”