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Beijing Barry is pictured having fun with glass of...
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Beijing Barry is pictured having fun with glass of wine with Chinese language ‘spy’

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Sharing a lunch and a glass of wine like the 2 previous pals they had been, this was Labour frontbencher Barry Gardiner and the suspected Chinese language spy who bankrolled him to the tune of greater than £600,000.

The pair had been noticed by one other diner in October 2018 within the Northall restaurant at Westminster’s swanky Corinthia Lodge, solely a brief stroll from Parliament.  

On the time of MailOnline’s unique photograph Mr Gardiner was Labour’s Shadow Minister for Worldwide Commerce, and the lodge is subsequent door to the Division for Worldwide Commerce in Whitehall Place.

Profiting from a set lunch supplied with a complimentary glass of Champagne, Mr Gardiner, 64, additionally seemed to be ingesting white wine as he and Ms Lee hunched over the desk, deep in dialog.

It’s believed the third individual might have been Ms Lee’s son Daniel Wilkes, 27, employed as a researcher or diary secretary on the MP’s workplace for a number of years, along with her regulation agency, Christine Lee & Co, paying for his wage, and extra in addition to.

The financial association lasted till June 2020, although Mr Wilkes remained working within the workplace. That each one got here to an abrupt halt yesterday after MI5 issued a extremely uncommon warning about 58-year-old Ms Lee’s ‘political interference’ actions on behalf of Beijing and Mr Wilkes resigned.  

In an unprecedented transfer, spy chiefs yesterday issued a safety alert to MPs over solicitor Mrs Lee, 58. She sought to affect a string of politicians and succeeded in establishing highly effective hyperlinks ‘proper to the highest of the British institution’, safety sources stated.

A spokesperson for the Chinese language Embassy in London denied the claims immediately, saying the Asian nation had ‘no want’ to ‘purchase affect’ in any international parliament. 

Barry Gardiner and Christine Lee dining together during a boozy lunch at Westminster's swanky Corinthia Hotel, only a short walk from Parliament in 2018. It is believed the third person may have been Ms Lee's son Daniel Wilkes, 27, who was employed by 'Beijing Barry' until yesterday

Barry Gardiner and Christine Lee dining together during a boozy lunch at Westminster's swanky Corinthia Hotel, only a short walk from Parliament in 2018. It is believed the third person may have been Ms Lee's son Daniel Wilkes, 27, who was employed by 'Beijing Barry' until yesterday

Barry Gardiner and Christine Lee eating collectively throughout a boozy lunch at Westminster’s swanky Corinthia Lodge, solely a brief stroll from Parliament in 2018. It’s believed the third individual might have been Ms Lee’s son Daniel Wilkes, 27, who was employed by ‘Beijing Barry’ till yesterday

A warning memo was sent to all MPs and Peers in Westminster today by the Speaker's Parliamentary security team, and no politicians are suspected of any criminality.

A warning memo was sent to all MPs and Peers in Westminster today by the Speaker's Parliamentary security team, and no politicians are suspected of any criminality.

A warning memo was despatched to all MPs and Friends in Westminster immediately by the Speaker’s Parliamentary safety group, and no politicians are suspected of any criminality.

Pictures posted to Facebook show Ms Lee with prominent politicians including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his deputy Tom Watson (pictured together) and disgraced ex-MP Keith Vaz

Pictures posted to Facebook show Ms Lee with prominent politicians including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his deputy Tom Watson (pictured together) and disgraced ex-MP Keith Vaz

Footage posted to Fb present Ms Lee with outstanding politicians together with former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn, his deputy Tom Watson (pictured collectively) and disgraced ex-MP Keith Vaz

Ms Lee, a London-based solicitor and a former chief authorized adviser to the Chinese language embassy in London, talking to former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn in 2016. She can be the secretary of the Inter-Occasion China Group at Westminster.

Ms Lee is a solicitor with an office in central London. She is a former chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London and a legal adviser to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

Ms Lee is a solicitor with an office in central London. She is a former chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London and a legal adviser to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

Ms Lee is a solicitor with an workplace in central London. She is a former chief authorized adviser to the Chinese language embassy in London and a authorized adviser to the Abroad Chinese language Affairs Workplace.

‘China all the time adheres to the precept of non-interference in different nation’s inner affairs,’ they stated.

‘Clearly unacceptable behaviour’: MI5’s unprecedented e mail to MPs

Lee’s links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) go deep. She has been chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London and a legal adviser to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, an agency of the Communist Party's vast network of influence overseen by its United Front Work Department.

Lee’s links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) go deep. She has been chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London and a legal adviser to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, an agency of the Communist Party's vast network of influence overseen by its United Front Work Department.

Lee’s hyperlinks to the Chinese language Communist Occasion (CCP) go deep. She has been chief authorized adviser to the Chinese language embassy in London and a authorized adviser to the Abroad Chinese language Affairs Workplace, an company of the Communist Occasion’s huge community of affect overseen by its United Entrance Work Division.

The safety companies issued a uncommon warning to MPs and friends amid fears an agent of the Chinese language authorities has been energetic in Parliament.

On Thursday a Safety Service Interference Alert was issued by MI5 containing allegations about Christine Ching Kui Lee after issues had been raised that she was not being open about her connections to the Chinese language state and should have ulterior motives for her involvement with parliamentarians.

Whereas it isn’t the primary time such an alert has been issued, official warnings of this nature are comparatively uncommon.

The letter from the Speaker accompanying the alert stated: ‘I’m writing now to attract your consideration to the hooked up Interference Alert issued by the Safety Service, MI5, concerning the actions of a person, Christine Lee, who has been engaged in political interference actions on behalf of the Chinese language Communist Occasion, participating with Members right here at Parliament and related political entities, together with the previous APPG: Chinese language in Britain.

‘I ought to spotlight the truth that Lee has facilitated monetary donations to serving and aspiring Parliamentarians on behalf of international nationals primarily based in Hong Kong and China. 

‘This facilitation was finished covertly to masks the origins of the funds. 

‘That is clearly unacceptable behaviour and steps are being taken to make sure it ceases.’

Within the overlaying letter, Sir Lindsay stated the MPs she contacted included members of the now disbanded Chinese language in Britain All Occasion Parliamentary Group. Chaired by Mr Gardiner, different members included Labour’s Keith Vaz, Stephen Pound, Faisal Rashid and Gareth Thomas, together with Tory David Morris.

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‘We’ve no want and by no means search to ‘purchase affect’ in any international parliament. We firmly oppose the trick of smearing and intimidation towards the Chinese language neighborhood within the UK.’

Mr Gardiner stated immediately that there can be an announcement on the Chinese language agent affair within the Commons later. As he left his North London residence, carrying a go well with and crimson tie, he was requested if he had put his colleagues in danger.

He stated: ‘I’m fairly assured that I didn’t put my colleagues in danger.’ He declined to reply questions concerning the alleged spy Mrs Lee or her son who labored in his workplace till yesterday. He stated he had already made an announcement and wouldn’t remark any additional.

A warning memo despatched to MPs stated her ‘political interference actions on behalf of the Chinese language Communist Occasion’ have been secretly monitored by the safety companies for years.

The twice married mom of two from the West Midlands, who got here to the UK aged 12 and lives in a £1million mansion in Solihull, has overtly given round £670,000 to the Labour Occasion since 2005, together with donating greater than £600,000 to Brent North MP Barry Gardiner – who employed her son.

However yesterday it was revealed she additionally courted a variety of Tory and Labour MPs, cultivating contacts with cupboard ministers and prime ministers in what was described by MI5 as a deeply sinister marketing campaign of ‘interference throughout British democracy’. 

TV journalist Philip Braund, who took the photograph, stated he was lunching with a lobbyist contact when he noticed Mr Gardiner stroll in.

‘I recognised Mr Gardiner, who has fairly a excessive profile, however I might no concept who the lady was,’ he advised MailOnline.

‘Throughout the meal the dialog between Mr Gardiner and the girl was very animated.

‘There was quite a lot of laughing and joking. He clearly knew her effectively. I can not keep in mind why however I felt compelled to take an image of the luncheon.

‘I used to be making an attempt to take a photograph primarily of him, however ended up getting a greater photograph of Miss Lee. Trying again, and figuring out what we now know, I can not assist questioning if MI5 had been additionally watching the entire scene?

‘We left the restaurant earlier than they did and our invoice was round £75 for 2, so I assume theirs would have been round £100. I ponder who picked up the invoice?’

MI5’s alert towards an alleged Chinese language spy got here as a result of she represented a ‘menace to democracy’ insiders say. There was an accumulation of proof towards the alleged spy working in parliament that ultimately reached a ‘tipping level’, in accordance with safety sources.

Christine Lee had been the topic of an MI5 investigation over quite a few years however there was no ‘gotcha’ second that meant they abruptly felt they needed to act.

As a substitute there was an ‘accumulation of threat’ because the safety companies noticed her strategy extra politicians, which tipped the stability within the favour of intervention, as a substitute of constant the covert operation.

‘It was not finished for messaging functions, it’s as a result of we consider there was a doable menace to parliamentary democracy,’ in accordance with one supply.

The safety companies consider Lee’s intention was to affect coverage and coverage course to be able to advance the pursuits of the Chinese language state.

She did that by manufacturing alternatives with people who believed she represented the Chinese language neighborhood within the UK.

Lee was believed to be ‘creating entry and affect in order that she may then lean on her contacts on the time her controllers within the Chinese language Communist Occasion felt it was a precedence to behave,’ the supply stated.

MI5 has constructed an understanding of how the Chinese language state operates however there may be now extra of an urge for food throughout Whitehall to intervene, the place beforehand there might have been issues round commerce offers or diplomatic ties, sources say.

Issuing a Safety Service Interference Alert to parliament mustn’t essentially be seen as a extra ‘muscular’ strategy to Chinese language interference however there may be undoubtedly extra or an ‘urge for food to intervene,’ a supply stated.

Which will now be seen with different states that MI5 has recognized as looking for to intervene within the British democratic course of resembling Russia, Iran and North Korea.

She is a west London solicitor who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to former Labour minister Barry Gardiner (right, pictured together).

She is a west London solicitor who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to former Labour minister Barry Gardiner (right, pictured together).

She is a west London solicitor who has donated a whole lot of 1000’s of kilos to former Labour minister Barry Gardiner (proper, pictured collectively).

Former PM David Cameron addresses a British Chinese Project event in a photo posted in 2016

Former PM David Cameron addresses a British Chinese Project event in a photo posted in 2016

Former PM David Cameron addresses a British Chinese language Mission occasion in a photograph posted in 2016

For years, China has used cyber assaults to try to infiltrate expertise corporations and steal mental property.

In January 2019, she received a Points of Light Award from then premier Theresa May, in recognition of her contribution to good relations with China.

In January 2019, she received a Points of Light Award from then premier Theresa May, in recognition of her contribution to good relations with China.

In January 2019, she acquired a Factors of Mild Award from then premier Theresa Might, in recognition of her contribution to good relations with China.

The Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre is on the forefront of serving to personal corporations and authorities to struggle off these assaults.

However China can be utilizing brokers to try to purchase necessary expertise and to fulfill necessary enterprise folks and civil servants.

One other supply described their strategy as ‘larger, broader, quicker with fewer guidelines.’

MI5 and GCHQ have invested closely in expertise to counter that however additionally they plan to make use of authorized means to try to prosecute spies.

Not like the US, which has a regulation towards ‘unregistered international brokers’ courting again to 1938, Britain has to depend on the Official Secrets and techniques Act which implies that authorities officers may be prosecuted for leaking data however permits the spies themselves to go free.

Spies conventionally work beneath ‘official cowl’ which suggests they’re diplomats with thinly disguised titles that permit them to make approaches to people who might have data to share.

Nevertheless, spies who work inside organisations with ‘non-official cowl’ as ‘undeclared’ international brokers typically pose an even bigger threat.

The federal government plans to introduce a Nationwide Safety Invoice that’s more likely to contain a ‘international brokers register’ which might permit unregistered brokers to be put via court docket.

Priti Patel, the House Secretary, has stated the federal government is ‘working to have a look at what measures we will take to strengthen our legal guidelines to successfully result in the kind of prosecutions that we at present can’t ship.’

She warned of extra nationwide safety alerts to comply with, saying the UK had ‘different adversaries’ who would ‘look to intervene or come into our nation in some form and means’.

In a rare safety scandal, the Communist agent was welcomed into Downing Road in 2019, the place she acquired an award from then-prime minister Theresa Might in recognition of her contribution to good relations with China.

The award was rescinded final night time, however Mrs Might praised her on the time for ‘selling engagement, understanding, and cooperation between the Chinese language and British communities within the UK’, including: ‘I additionally want you effectively together with your work to additional the inclusion and participation of British-Chinese language folks within the UK political system.’

And he or she acquired a Girl of the Yr gong from the GG2 Management Awards in 2013.

Miss Lee additionally fashioned shut hyperlinks with David Cameron when he was prime minister as the one Chinese language member of his 2010 enterprise delegation to China.

Final night time there have been questions on how she managed to get so near Downing Road, given her outstanding place inside the hostile state as {a photograph} emerged of her shaking palms with Chinese language president Xi Jinping.

The impeccably linked and alleged Chinese language spy hid in plain sight whereas cosying as much as MPs by providing donations, hampers and paying for journeys overseas.

Miss Lee has been chief authorized adviser to the Chinese language embassy in London and a authorized adviser to the Abroad Chinese language Affairs Workplace, an company overseen by the United Entrance Work Division (UFWD), which manages the huge community of affect of the Chinese language Communist Occasion (CCP).

But she was additionally the secretary of the Inter-Occasion China Group of the British Parliament.

Since 2005, she has donated massive sums to Labour. She gave about £670,000 to the occasion, largely to Jeremy Corbyn ally Mr Gardiner, virtually all of it for his staffing prices. In 2014 she helped sponsor a Chinese language Liberal Democrats’ dinner to help the occasion’s then-candidate for Somerton and Frome, Sarah Yong.

In line with the alert despatched to all MPs and friends in Westminster yesterday, she additionally made covert funds to serving and aspiring MPs on behalf of politicians in China and Hong Kong.

The MI5 message stated: ‘The UFWD seeks to domesticate relationships with influential figures to be able to make sure the UK political panorama is beneficial to the CCP’s agenda and to problem those who elevate issues about CCP exercise, resembling human rights. Lee has been engaged within the facilitation of monetary donations to political events, parliamentarians, aspiring parliamentarians, and people looking for political workplace within the UK, together with facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of international nationals.’

In an accompanying letter, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle stated amongst these focused was the now-disbanded Chinese language in Britain All Occasion Parliamentary Group, of which Mr Gardiner was chairman.

Final night time there was no signal of her on the £985,000 residence on a gated property in Solihull, West Midlands, which she shares along with her British solicitor husband.

Miss Patel stated it was ‘deeply regarding’ that a person ‘who has knowingly engaged in political interference actions on behalf of the Chinese language Communist Occasion has focused parliamentarians’. However she recommended the exercise was ‘beneath the felony threshold’.

The House Secretary warned: ‘We’re talking particularly proper now concerning the CCP, China, however we reside in a world the place we’ve got different adversaries, they usually all look to intervene or come into our nation in some form and means. We’re massive gamers internationally, the UK, our place on the earth may be very robust. And so we’re naturally a rustic of curiosity. I feel it is truthful to say sooner or later, we’ll see extra alerts of this nature.’

It comes at a time of hardening attitudes towards China on the prime of Authorities, culminating most just lately in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has been concerned in serving to Hong Kong-Chinese language folks flee the Communist regime, expressed concern they may now be in danger on account of Lee’s allegedv actions.

The clues had been there for anybody who selected to look: An workplace INSIDE China’s British Embassy, glad-handing President Xi… how ‘charming lawyer’ Christine Lee hid in plain sight as a Communist spy

Three years in the past, Christine Lee acquired a particular award from then prime minister Theresa May in recognition of her pioneering work in fostering shut relations between China and Britain.

It was a landmark second within the lifetime of the 58-year-old entrepreneur, who arrived in Britain from Hong Kong as a baby.

She duly posed for footage outdoors No 10 Downing Street, the long-lasting black door draped with crimson banners celebrating a ‘Golden Period’ in relations between the 2 nations.

The symbolism of the picture was unattainable to overlook: Lee had reached the guts of Britain’s Institution and was being embraced by it.

In a private letter, Mrs Might stated – in phrases that now appear hopelessly naïve – ‘I want you effectively in your work to additional the participation of British-Chinese language folks within the UK political system.’

For yesterday the well dressed, dark-haired Lee was unmasked by our home safety service MI5 as a Chinese language Communist Occasion agent ‘engaged in political interference’ of MPs on each the Left and Proper of the political spectrum.

Christine Lee poses outside No 10 Downing Street

Christine Lee poses outside No 10 Downing Street

Christine Lee poses outdoors No 10 Downing Road

And Mrs Might was not the one individual in excessive locations to be taken in by the founding father of what was known as the British Chinese language Mission, a non-profit organisation aiming to advertise engagement, understanding and cooperation between the Chinese language neighborhood and wider UK society.

She has been photographed whispering in David Cameron’s ear on the GG2 Management Awards, and her hyperlinks with Labour Occasion politicians date again to Tony Blair’s premiership.

Aside from her involvement with the British Chinese language Mission, Lee – a persuasive character, with appreciable attraction – is a lawyer with workplaces in London and Birmingham who has cultivated prime enterprise folks as simply as she has senior politicians. Few seem to have realised the closeness of her affiliation with Beijing’s elite however proof of it has lengthy been there for many who selected to look.

As a consultant of the ‘complete Chinese language neighborhood within the UK’, Lee advised a parliamentary residence affairs committee some years in the past that her enterprise advising Chinese language entrepreneurs on put money into Britain had an workplace with 5 workers inside China’s British Embassy.

At a committee session on the 2006 Nationality Invoice, Lee stated: ‘They (China’s embassy workers) are on the second flooring, we’re on the seventeenth flooring. So each time the British Embassy has an issue, they ship the folks as much as us, and we will clarify to them in Chinese language what’s going on.’

Christine Lee and David Cameron at the ceremony of the British GG2 leadership awards in 2015

Christine Lee and David Cameron at the ceremony of the British GG2 leadership awards in 2015

Christine Lee and David Cameron on the ceremony of the British GG2 management awards in 2015 

There may be even an image on social media of a beaming Lee shaking palms with Xi Jinping, the autocratic Chinese language president.

In line with the authors of Hidden Palms, a extremely revered e book on China’s affect in Britain: ‘Her hyperlinks with the CCP go deep. She has been chief authorized adviser to the Chinese language Embassy in London… an unmistakable signal of her significance to the CCP.’

The e book added that Chinese language networks, together with these run by Lee as so-called friendship and fundraising teams, have grow to be so deeply entrenched amongst British elites that they’ve ‘gone previous the purpose of no return’.

Her elevation into excessive locations with all of the affect that brings is a far cry from Miss Lee’s tough previous. Her household emigrated to Northern Eire within the Seventies when she was 12 and she or he attended a boarding faculty in Belfast, the place she was the one Chinese language lady amongst ‘66 Irish women’.

Christine Lee pictured with former London mayor Ken Livingstone in 2012

Christine Lee pictured with former London mayor Ken Livingstone in 2012

Christine Lee pictured with former London mayor Ken Livingstone in 2012

An interview she gave a number of years in the past to the China Day by day – an English-language newspaper owned by the ruling Communist Occasion – affords an intriguing perception into her background. ‘It is vitally tough for a younger lady to depart her residence and her beloved grandparents and are available to reside in a chilly place,’ she advised the newspaper.

‘My English was poor and I couldn’t actually talk with the opposite pupils which put me in a weaker place than them. There was not quite a lot of bodily bullying, however quite a lot of verbal bullying.’

She developed a behavior of placing seven teaspoons of sugar into her espresso to neutralise the bitter style however when she requested an ‘Irish lady’ someday to assist her with the sugar, the lady – in an act of malice – substituted salt for sugar.

But when they thought the redoubtable Lee would recoil in shock and dissolve into tears, they had been in for a shock: ‘The women who had been watching thought I’d not drink it, however I advised myself to drink the whole cup, and present them I’m not weak.’ Lee is definitely not that. She teamed up with different victims of the bullies on the faculty to practise karate so they may defend themselves.

In line with the article, it was the unfairness she skilled in her childhood that propelled her in the direction of a authorized profession.

As a younger lawyer, she specialised in immigration instances, serving to migrants from Hong Kong settle within the UK. Over time she acquired concerned within the profitable world of training, advising Chinese language mother and father ‘put money into their youngsters’s training and work expertise’ within the UK.

Family with the capability to take a position £1 million on this nation certified for a visa programme that gave their youngsters the precise to not solely examine over right here however discover jobs too.

As we speak Lee lives along with her husband, a 71-year-old British businessman known as Martin Wilkes, in a £1 million home in an upmarket gated property within the sensible market city of Solihull, West Midlands, the place neighbours have seen her coming and getting into a Mercedes.

The couple are companions in a Midlands-based property firm that rents out housing affiliation and council properties.

However Lee’s actual declare to fame, as we’ve got seen, is the British Chinese language Mission. The charity she based in 2006 not solely goals to make politicians extra conscious of the wants of their Chinese language constituents however campaigns for British-Chinese language folks to vote normally elections.

It was her success in selling this ostensibly worthy trigger that earned Lee that ‘Factors of Mild’ award from Mrs Might in January 2019. ‘I’m humbled that it pertains to our work for the well-being of the British-Chinese language neighborhood,’ she stated on the time.

Now we all know that this was not the whole fact. Her good works offered her with a passport to the higher echelons of British society and enabled her to spy on them for an more and more sinister international energy.

Source: Day by day Mail

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