Birmingham link to MI5 warning over ‘political interference on behalf of Chinese Communist Party’
MPs and peers have been issued with an interference warning this afternoon (Thursday 13 January) after it was claimed that a female Chinese national, with links to Birmingham, has been seeking to improperly influence Parliamentarians.
Christine Lee, a Labour Party donor, has been accused by MI5 of being a suspected agent for China, saying that she has been “facilitating financial donations to serving and aspiring politicians” and that she has been “knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party”.
Lee runs a law firm, which has offices in Birmingham and London. She has been a long-time funder of Barry Gardiner MP, who was in Jeremy Corbyn’s top team when he was Leader of the Opposition. The Spectator reports that Lee started making donations to the Labour Party in 2015, shortly after Gardiner joined the opposition front bench – and included £182,284 to pay the waged of two of his former aides – one of whom it names as Lee’s son, Daniel Wilkes
MI5 has issued an Interference Alert accusing Lee of being “engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, engaging with Members here at Parliament and associated political entities.”
A spokesperson for the Speaker’s office said: “The Speaker takes the security of Members and the democratic process very seriously, which is why he issued this notice in consultation with the security services. There is no further comment on this matter.”
Lee has been accused not only of targeting Gardiner, but individuals from across the political divide. Her firm, Christine Lee & Co, has offices in the Cathay Building on Holloway Head in Birmingham. The firm is described on its its website as “offering a range of legal services specialising in broad areas of legal work for the benefit of private individuals and corporate clients”.
Lee has not been arrested, but MI5 says she has been known to them “for some time”.
TheBusinessDesk.com has contacted Christine Lee & Co for comment.