A Times source tells Guido that they are surprised that the rest of the media is not naming Chris Cash as the person arrested on suspicion of spying for the Chinese. They believe there is a strong public interest case for naming the person who had access to parliamentarians, civil servants and think-tankers active on China issues.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader sanctioned by China, nailed it: “It’s a remarkably dangerous situation. This is a guy who allegedly spies on behalf of the Chinese government in the place where decisions are made and sensitive information is transferred. It is vitally important that he is named because many people who came into contact with this individual will be unaware that he has been arrested on suspicion of espionage. There is a clear public interest.”
Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Alicia Kearns’ ally told The Times defensively “Preposterous suggestions that Alicia should have breached all police and intelligence requests not to discuss this case could only come from individuals with zero understanding of legal investigations or intelligence work.” Spooks like to do things secretly.
Cash issued a statement via the law firm Birnberg Peirce; “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.” Even if he isn’t charged or is found innocent, there is still a public interest in open justice. People getting arrested in secret, unreported by the press, is a hallmark of police states.
Guido didn’t name Chris Cash last night because we assumed there must be a good reason papers were holding back. In retrospect we made a mistake.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has defended the government’s willingness to engage with China ahead of his visit to Beijing tomorrow. Despite Rishi’s declaration that China is an “epoch-defining challenge” – a downgrade from “a threat” – Cleverly will be the first Foreign Secretary to visit China in five years, and insisted he won’t conduct foreign policy “by catchphrase“.
“To consciously withdraw and not utilise our standing in the world, the authority and voice that we have, that would be seen as a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength… Give me one example of any other country in the world where we define our relationship with a single word or a catchphrase. We don’t do it.”
A few notable Tory backbenchers, including Iain Duncan Smith and Liz Truss, have already argued it’s too late to bring China to the negotiating table, and should designate the Communist Party as a “dangerous threat“. Cleverly is taking a softer approach, hoping that keeping them inside the tent will decrease hostility. The US is already restricting investment into Chinese technology – something the Foreign Office seemingly isn’t keen on. Even if China may have tracked the PM’s government car this year…
The Telegraph have quietly corrected an article by Iain Duncan Smith published in March, after press watchdog IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) ruled IDS had written an “inaccurate” claim about home schooling after Covid. The offending claim has since been deleted entirely from the text…
The article previously contained the following sentence:
“Some children are now being schooled at home. Whilst a number will be receiving a good education, sadly evidence shows that’s not true for the majority.”
According to IPSO, that evidence doesn’t actually exist. The Telegraph have now added:
“This article previously reported that evidence showed the majority of children schooled at home did not receive a good education. This was inaccurate as there was no available evidence to support the claim. This correction has been published following an upheld ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.”
IDS is obviously right to push for improving children’s education. Kids are better off inside the classroom than outside it. Always best to show your workings though…
China hawk Iain Duncan Smith has warned that the Communist Party used hidden tracking devices in government cars to follow the Prime Minister’s movements, before the cars were stripped and the devices were quietly removed. Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, IDS revealed:
“It was never absolutely confirmed, of course they wouldn’t do for security reasons, but I’m pretty reliably told that they had to strip out the cars to find the devices based in the little SIMs, and they were capable and were tracking the cars and the car journeys. They have capability to be able to throw the switch, as it were, on batteries et cetera, as and when they wish.”
Last month the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of MPs published a report claiming China has “successfully penetrated every sector of the UK’s economy“, and the government has “no strategy” to stop it. Even if the government makes a U-turn on this soon, it looks like China will know about it before anyone else…
Now the race to the Tory candidacy for London Mayor is down to its final three, some big names are nailing their colours to the mast. This morning Iain Duncan Smith has, as expected, publicly endorsed Moz Hossain, the previously unknown candidate who kept a low profile until making it to the final shortlist. He tells Guido:
“Under Sadiq Khan, London has become less safe and more expensive. If Khan wins another term, I fear that the damage could be made permanent. To save this city we love, we need to defeat him.The truth is that all of the candidates that have put themselves forward would make better Mayors than Sadiq Khan. But I believe only one can beat him next May.
To win, we need a candidate who can break free from the political chaos of the past, someone who has the experience and knowledge essential to keep London safe – the Mayor’s most important job. With a successful career already at the criminal Bar, Moz Hussain is someone who can reach across the political divide and connect with voters of all backgrounds. Moz Hossain is the right candidate, and I urge my fellow London Conservatives to support him.”
Hossain is a Bangladesh-born King’s Counsel who moved to the UK in 1995. His launch video yesterday sets out his pitch…
Duncan Smith is his first big endorsement, although Guido hears several more will follow in the next few days. Dan Korski has already picked up other big hitters, including Michael Gove, Simon Clarke, and Michelle Donelan. Susan Hall is betting her grassroots support will see her over the line; she’s picked up the most public endorsements so far, with the majority of them being London councillors and backbench MPs. Former candidate Andrew Boff announced this afternoon he’s backing her too. The final candidate will then be announced on 19th July…