February 7, 2023

China could try to interfere in the Tory leadership elections in a similar way to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, British security sources fear.

For the first time, Conservative Party members will have the option to change their vote by post online – once – if they have a reconsideration and want to support another candidate in the contest.

But security sources have raised the prospect that the reform could leave the process vulnerable to foreign cyber hacking.

A 2020 report by the Intelligence and Security Commission found “substantial evidence” that Russian interference was the order of the day, including in the 2016 referendum on withdrawal from the EU.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech as the head of the seven-member Communist Party of the new Standing Committee of the Politburo of China, the country’s highest decision-making body, on Oct. 25, 2017, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

While Secretary of State Liz Truss has taken a hard line on Russia and China, Rishi Sunak has taken a more lenient approach as it is in the interest of international trade.

After the former chancellor launched his leadership opportunity, China’s largest gazette praised him for his track record in strengthening ties with the country.

The Global Times, a sister publication of the Chinese Communist Party’s spokesperson, the People’s Daily, said that while “most candidates take a tough stance on China,” he was the only one with “a clear and pragmatic view of the development of China.” UK-China ties’.

In her interview with today’s Mail on Sunday, Ms Truss applauds her record for both countries, saying: ‘We made a huge mistake as the free world by being too close to Russia, allowing Russia to join the G8, Europe becoming dependent on Russian oil and gas, and allowing Russian business culture to influence places like London.

“Now we’ve solved that with the strictest sanctions regime any country in the world has against Russia and I urge Europe to get off Russian gas as soon as possible, because that’s what funds Vladimir Putin’s war machine, and I think that we very clear that Russia is cooperating with China.

“We must not be strategically dependent on China – we must be very careful in areas such as technology that we do not allow the threat against us.”

Ms Truss added: ‘We need to work more with like-minded countries to build our resilience and whether that’s in energy, or in food, which we can’t be, depends on those authoritarian regimes.’

Mr. Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, has a financial stake in two Chinese technology companies. She is connected to the companies through Infosys, the IT consultancy group founded by her father, billionaire Indian businessman NR Narayana Murthy. The group owns Infosys Technologies (China) Co Limited and Infosys Technologies (Shanghai) Co Limited.

Several other family members, including Murty’s father, have a stake in Infosys, which is worth around £67 billion.

The group’s Chinese subsidiaries generated total sales of 12.9 billion rupees (134 million pounds) last year and are said to employ about 3,300 people in offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian, Hangzhou and Jiaxing.