Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that he had warned the Chinese Premier at the G20 summit against any attempts to spy on the UK.
Updating MPs in the House of Commons, Mr Sunak warned: “I have been emphatically clear in our engagement with China that we will not accept any interference in our democracy and parliamentary system.
“We will defend our democracy and our security.
“So I was emphatic with Premier Li that actions which seek to undermine British democracy are completely unacceptable and will never be tolerated.”
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It comes as the Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrest of two people under the Official Secrets Act in March.
One of those arrested is a Parliamentary researcher who denies the allegations made against them.
China has rejected the spying allegations, calling them false in a statement.
Ahead of Sunak’s statement, Liz Truss and other senior Conservative MPs had gathered in the House of Commons to pressure the Prime Minister to declare China a “threat” to the UK.
Speaking in the Commons, Ms Truss said: “These are extremely worrying reports about the level of infiltration of Chinese-supported forces into our democracy.
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“Does he (Oliver Dowden) agree that what we need to do is to recognise that China is the largest threat, both to the world and to the United Kingdom, for freedom and democracy?
“And does he not agree that the Government should designate it as such?”
Mr Dowden replied: “She is absolutely right that China represents a systemic challenge to our interests and values, and it is also the case, for example, in respect of our economic security, it is the number one state-based threat to our economic security.
“What I would say to her is that the Government is absolutely clear-eyed about the threats that this nation faces and robust in taking action, indeed that is why I personally took the decisions in respect of banning Huawei from our 5G networks, in respect of Chinese CCTV technology, and indeed in relation to TikTok.
“We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary based on appropriate advice to provide that protection for our nation and our democratic institutions.”
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