Thursday 13th January 2022

(1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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13:09
Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)
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On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. An email from Mr Speaker has just arrived in our offices. I understand the key issue is that he has been contacted by MI5, and is now warning Members of Parliament that an agent of the Chinese Government has been active here in Parliament—working with a Member of Parliament—obviously to subvert the processes here. As a Member of Parliament who was sanctioned by the Chinese Government, as others were, this is a matter of grave concern to me. I therefore rise to make three important points.

First, will this now lead to a serious overhaul of the accreditation procedures here in the House of Commons? They are clearly too slack if these people get in, either through all-party parliamentary groups or with individuals.

Is it possible that we will have a statement from Mr Speaker, from the Chair, about the risks? I am one of those who has done a lot to try to help Hong Kong Chinese who are fleeing the Communist regime. We have the names and numbers of people here in the UK, which leaves me worrying that some of them have been accessed by such an individual. That would put their lives and families at risk, and I am deeply concerned, because my activities may well have been traced, as well as those of my colleagues and friends.

I understand the latest news is that this individual is not to be deported and no further action is to be taken. How can a foreign, despotic and despicable power, which is hellbent on reducing many people to penury, put somebody into this mother of Parliaments and that individual have nothing done to them other than not being allowed into Parliament? That is surely not good enough. Could there be a statement from the Government on what they plan to do and, with respect, a statement from Mr Speaker from the Chair?

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for giving me forward notice of it. As he knows, it is not the policy of the Chair to comment in detail on any security matters, and I will certainly not be doing so today. As for any statement either from the Chair or, indeed, from a Minister, I have been given no notification whatsoever. Should that change, I am certain that Members will be notified in the usual way.

On the third point, we do not discuss the detail of security issues on the Floor of the House. However, I assure the right hon. Gentleman that the House authorities are in regular contact with the appropriate Government agencies on this matter, and we will update our advice and activities as necessary.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
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Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I thank the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) for his point of order.

There is such danger and concern for us in the House. Mr Deputy Speaker, have you had the opportunity to find out whether knowledge of the integration of a Chinese spy in this House has been conveyed to other Administrations in the United Kingdom, including the Northern Ireland Assembly? The right hon. Gentleman mentioned that we are accepting people from Hong Kong, and Northern Ireland will be doing so, too. I want to make sure that people are safe. With that in mind, have you or the House been made aware that the Northern Ireland Assembly, for instance, has been made aware of this matter?

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I have not been made aware of how this information has been disseminated, other than the email that Sir Iain Duncan Smith has just spoken about. I am absolutely certain that all parts of the United Kingdom will be made aware in the dialogue that takes place between the devolved Administrations and the Government.

Tobias Ellwood Portrait Mr Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East) (Con)
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Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. This is the sort of grey-zone interference we now anticipate and expect from China but, given the fact that it has happened to this Parliament, there must be a sense of urgency from the Government. Having heard your comments today, I am grateful that you are taking this matter very seriously indeed, but could I encourage and endorse the request for a statement on this before the close of play today, so that we can understand its ramifications and impact and what the Government and, indeed, Parliament intend to do about it?

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker
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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The Treasury Bench will have heard what he has had to say. As I said earlier, should a statement be made, the House will be informed in the usual manner. I know that all right hon. and hon. Members will be very concerned about the content of the email, and I am sure the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Copeland (Trudy Harrison) will pass on to the relevant Ministers the comments she has heard today from the Treasury Bench.