Iain Duncan Smith claims he is target of 'direct threat' from China
- Credit: PA
Chingford and Woodford Green MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that he has become the target of a “direct threat” from the Chinese government.
An outspoken critic of the Asian superpower, the former Conservative Party leader and minister told the House of Commons today that his work with the Interparliamentary Alliance on China had made him a target.
Sir Iain told the Commons: “I understand now there is intelligence from the Five Eyes sources that there is now a very active and direct threat from the Chinese government aimed directly at the co-chairs of the Interparliamentary Alliance on China.
“Some of these co-chairs, of which I am one, have now been warned by their intelligence services in receipt of this that they should be very careful and that they will be supported.
“Can I ask (Mr Cleverly) if his government is in receipt of this same intelligence and if so, why have they not informed the co-chairs and others here in the UK like other allies have done?”
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Foreign Office minister James Cleverly replied: “He will understand that we don’t discuss on the floor of the chamber intelligence-related issues, but I take the point that he makes about making sure that people who are potentially a target of overseas intelligence actions are given the opportunity to defend themselves against those.”
The exchange in the House of Commons followed the minister’s condemnation of the Microsoft Exchange hack, a cyber attack which Mr Cleverly alleged had been carried out by “Chinese state-backed groups”.
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China has strongly denied any accusations that it was behind the attack.
Sir Iain has previously criticised the Chinese government’s policies in relation to Hong Kong as well as the Uyghur populations in western China.
Earlier this year he was sanctioned by the Chinese government for “maliciously spreading lies and disinformation” about the country’s human rights record shortly after the UK government had established its own travel bans and asset freezes against several prominent Chinese officials.
Reporting by Press Association.