China believed to have targeted UK politicians with cyberattacks

Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping (left) with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore at Shannon Development Head Office on the first day of his three-day official visit to Ireland. 2012
Chinese president Xi Jinping. Credit: PA

China is believed to have targeted a group of senior MPs and peers with a series of cyberattacks aimed at undermining UK democracy.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is expected to tell Parliament on Monday that Beijing is behind a wave of state-backed interference, the Sunday Times reported.

A small group of China hawks are said to have been called to a briefing by Parliament’s director of security Alison Giles.

They include former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former minister Tim Loughton, crossbench peer Lord Alton and SNP MP Stewart McDonald.

Sir Iain, Mr Loughton and Lord Alton were also subjected in 2021 to sanctions by Beijing in a retaliatory move after they highlighted China’s “gross human rights violations”.

A government spokeswoman declined to comment.

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