UK police said on Saturday they had arrested a man in his twenties for espionage, and the Sunday Times reported he was a British parliamentary investigator suspected of working for China.
“Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service arrested two men on March 13 on suspicion of offenses under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911,” the force said.
“A man in his 30s was arrested at an address in Oxfordshire and a man in his 20s was arrested at an address in Edinburgh.”
The Sunday Times said the suspect, aged in his twenties, had contacts with MPs from the ruling Conservative Party while working as a parliamentary investigator. They included Security Minister Tom Tugendhat and Alicia Kearns, chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee.
He is a Briton who has worked in international politics, including relations with Beijing, and previously worked in China, the newspaper added.
If proven, it would represent one of the most serious security breaches involving a hostile state in the UK parliament.
The domestic intelligence service MI5 warned last year that a Chinese government agent named Christine Lee had been “engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, interacting with members here in parliament.”
In July, the House of Commons intelligence and security committee said China was attacking the UK “prolifically and aggressively” and that the government did not have the “resources, experience or knowledge” to deal with it.
Tugendhat reportedly had only limited contact with the suspect, and none while he was security minister.