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UK’s MI5 Issued Chinese Spy Alert To Divert Attention From Former PM’s Scandal, Court Hears

MI5, Former PM, Chinese spy,
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Source: @BorisJohnson

Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5 issued an alert branding a woman a Chinese agent. A tribunal heard this was possibly done to divert attention from a COVID lockdown party scandal. The scandal involved former Prime Minister Boris Johnson

MI5 sent out an alert notice in January 2022 about lawyer Christine Lee. They alleged she was “involved in political interference activities” in the UK. This was on behalf of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Accused Chinese spy sues MI5

The House of Commons Speaker circulated the warning to lawmakers. MI5 said it had found that Lee had “facilitated financial donations to serving and aspiring parliamentarians on behalf of foreign nationals based in Hong Kong and China.”

Lee is now suing MI5 for unspecified damages.

At an Investigatory Powers Tribunal hearing on Monday, her lawyer Ramby de Mello read out a message sent to Lee from Labour party member Barry Gardiner. Gardiner wrote “many people” believed the timing of the alert was to divert attention from Johnson’s admission of an unlawful gathering at Downing Street.

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Boris apologises to Parliament

Johnson had apologised to parliament for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering.

De Mello said MI5 had no power to issue the “unprecedented” notice. He added that the notice was factually wrong in asserting Lee had carried out political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

MI5 defends decision

MI5’s lawyers said national security reasons has prompted the alert. They said yhose assessments were “rational and lawful.”

With inputs from Reuters