Did an alleged “Chinese spy” help these senior Tory MPs get their role on the Foreign Affairs Committee?
- An alleged “Chinese spy” was “part of the campaign team” of Tory MP Alicia Kearn
- The MP fought against the rival Tories for a place on the Foreign Affairs Committee
A senior Tory MP became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee with the help of an alleged “Chinese spy”, it was claimed today.
Sources told the Mail that the parliamentary researcher, in his 20s, was “part of” Alicia Kearn’s campaign team and “followed her around like a lackey”.
It is also claimed that she won the presidency partly because of her “woke” sympathies.
Ms Kearns was elected chair of the committee last October after defeating her Tories colleagues Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Dr. Liam Fox and Richard Graham had defeated.
The election was triggered when Tom Stimmehat was appointed security minister, leaving a vacancy at the head of the prestigious committee.
Sources told the Mail that the suspected “Chinese spy” in his 20s was “part of” Alicia Kearn’s (pictured) campaign team and “followed her around like a servant”.
Alicia Kearns was elected chair of the committee last October, an election triggered by the appointment of Tom Stimmehat (pictured) as security minister
But in a campaign that a Westminster source described as “ill-tempered”, Ms Kearns was backed by Labor grandee Harriet Harman to win the vote of Labor MPs.
Senior Conservatives told the Mail that the campaign was “not just about China” but that Ms Kearns had indicated she supported the opposition MP’s stance on the “woke agenda”.
Another said she was on the “left” of the party and described her as “a wet one”.
She won the presidency with 241 votes, beating Dr. Fox came in second with 200 votes. Sir Iain was eliminated in the third round.
However, it was reported at the time that, although Dr.
Former Tory cabinet minister Nadine Dorries wrote in today’s email that Ms Kearns’ appointment “came as a surprise to many of us”.
“Others far more experienced and aware of the dangers of hostile powers – including the wise and knowledgeable Iain Duncan Smith – had unsuccessfully opposed them,” Ms Dorries wrote.
“Now the connection between Kearns and the alleged spy – who appears to have used his extensive network to support her appointment – is raising more eyebrows in the House of Commons.
The suspected “Chinese spy” worked as a parliamentary researcher and is the son of a general practitioner who attended public school
The arrest of a parliamentary researcher under the Official Secrets Act has reignited debates over Britain’s relationship with Beijing, with some Tory MPs urging Rishi Sunak to label China a “threat”.
“Her appointment was a travesty. “Now I fear that the choice of someone as inexperienced and, frankly, unsuitable as Alicia for the role may well come back to haunt us.”
Dependence on Chinese tuition fees is increasing
Efforts to reduce British universities’ dependence on China have stalled or regressed, a report warned yesterday.
As international diversity among students declines, many universities are “reliant on a very small number of markets.” The report was led by former universities minister Lord [Jo] Johnson said the challenges in “de-risking” higher education with China are significant.
Lord Johnson, visiting professor at the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “The sector continues to adopt the ‘fingers crossed’ strategy that decoupling… is never necessary for China, as it was for relations with China.” Russia in February 2022.’ He said the government “urgently needs to help universities” address the “national security risks posed by malicious actors and the dangers of over-reliance on a single country.”
The proportion of full-time Chinese doctoral students – the largest group of international academics at English universities – has risen from 17 percent in 2017/18 to 28 percent in 2021/22.
Over the weekend it was revealed that a parliamentary researcher with links to several senior Conservatives – including Ms Kearns and Mr Stimmehat – was arrested on suspicion of spying for Beijing.
The arrest of a parliamentary researcher under the Official Secrets Act has reignited debates over the UK’s relationship with Beijing, with some Tory MPs urging Rishi Sunak to label China a “threat”.
Confirmation of the arrest came just weeks after James Cleverly became the first foreign secretary in five years to visit China in a bid to forge more pragmatic ties with the country.
Mr Sunak insisted yesterday that Mr Cleverly had raised the issue of China’s interference in the UK’s democratic institutions during his recent trip and that he had “reaffirmed” this at the G20 summit in India.
However, MPs questioned whether the publication of the March arrest reports was necessary for the Prime Minister to raise concerns.
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden signaled that ministers could consider taking a tougher stance on China following the row.
He told MPs on Monday that there was a “strong case” for classifying China in the “enhanced tier” of countries under the new national security law.
Ms Kearns has been contacted for comment.
The unnamed man at the center of the allegations insists he is completely innocent. In a statement released by his lawyers, the researcher said he had spent his career highlighting the “challenges and threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”