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China has targeted a group of MPs and peers at Westminster in a string of cyber-attacks, it has been reported.

On Monday, the deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, is expected to inform parliament of the attacks.

Meanwhile, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory education minister Tim Loughton, cross-bench peer Lord Alton of Liverpool and Stewart McDonald, a Scottish National party MP, have been called on to attend a briefing from Alison Giles, parliament’s director of security.

Duncan Smith, Loughton, Alton and McDonald are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (Ipac), which monitors and scrutinises Beijing.

Foreign secretary David Cameron will also hold a meeting of the 1922 Committee during which the topic of China and security is likely to be discussed, the Sunday Times reported.

The forthcoming China update is believed to be related to the work of the Defending Democracy taskforce, a ministerial committee which monitors and identifies threats and interference in the UK’s elections and democratic system.

At an Ipac meeting on Friday, Luke de Pulford, its executive director, said: “About a year ago the Belgian and French foreign ministries publicly confirmed [Chinese state] sponsored cyber-attacks against our members.

“Other countries have done the same privately. Beijing has made no secret of their desire to attack foreign politicians who dare to stand up to them.”

Last year, a parliamentary researcher was arrested over allegations of spying.

Chris Cash, who denies the allegation, worked for the China Research Group, which was set up by security minister Tom Tugendhat. He was also employed as a researcher by Tory MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the foreign affairs select committee.

Last summer, a report by the Commons intelligence and security committee (ISC) claimed China was “prolifically and aggressively” targeting the UK and had managed to “successfully penetrate every sector of the UK’s economy”.


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#China #targets #group #MPs #peers #string #cyberattacks

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