British spies accuse political donors of meddling in pro-China

UK domestic intelligence warns lawmakers that a London-based lawyer is trying to “covertly interfere in UK politics” on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party

LONDON — Britain’s domestic intelligence service has warned lawmakers that a London-based lawyer is trying to “covertly interfere in British politics” on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

MI5 said Lee had assisted in donations to British political parties and lawmakers, “including on behalf of foreigners to assist in donations to political entities.”

It said the United Front Work Department “seeks to build relationships with influential figures to ensure the UK’s political landscape is conducive to the CCP’s agenda and to challenge those who raise concerns about CCP activities, such as human rights.”

MPs must declare the source of donations they receive, which must come from voters or entities registered in the UK.

Labour MP Barry Gardner said in a statement he had received donations from Lee in the past to fund researchers in his office.

Gardner said he had been “liaising” with British security services for years to Lee.

“Security has assured me that while they have clearly identified improper funds through Christine Lee, this is not related to any funds received by my office,” Gardner said.

Gardner also said that Lee’s son worked as a diary manager in his office but resigned on Thursday.

“Security told me they didn’t have any intelligence that he was aware of or involved in his mother’s illegal activities,” Gardner said.

Lee’s company, Christine Lee & Co., says on its website that it “establishes strong links between the UK and China” and acts as legal counsel to the Chinese embassy in London.

Li’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Relations between Britain and China have become increasingly frosty, with British officials accusing Beijing of economic shenanigans and human rights abuses. In November, the head of MI6’s overseas intelligence agency, Richard Moore, called China one of the biggest threats to Britain and its allies.