Tory parliamentary researcher Chris Cash has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash was associated with notable figures such as Tom Tugendhat and Alicia Kearns and led the China Research Group, which advocated for a stringent policy towards China. 

Chris Cash, a 28-year-old Tory parliamentary researcher, has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash was closely associated with influential figures including Tom Tugendhat and Alicia Kearns. He led the China Research Group, advocating for a stringent British policy towards China. The group, founded in 2020, aimed to foster debate on Britain’s response to China’s rise, focusing on various policy issues. Cash, a history graduate, was active in Westminster’s social circles, even using dating apps to connect with political journalists.


Scotland Yard confirmed the arrest of Cash in Edinburgh in March, with another individual in his thirties also apprehended. The authorities suspect that Cash was recruited as a sleeper agent during his time in China, with a mission to infiltrate UK political networks critical of Beijing. Despite leading a group that sought to provide reliable information on China, it remains unclear how much access Cash had to sensitive foreign affairs intelligence or the level of influence he wielded in Westminster, as he lacked security clearance.


The Chinese embassy in the UK vehemently denied the allegations, labeling them as “malicious slander.” They urged UK entities to cease anti-China political manipulations and dismissed claims of espionage as fabricated. Meanwhile, the revelation has caused a stir in the political sphere, with MPs expressing shock and frustration over being kept in the dark about Cash’s identity and the potential security breach. Alicia Kearns, tied to Cash, faced criticism for not sharing information, a claim she and her close sources refuted, citing legal and intelligence protocols.


Cash, who grew up in a wealthy Edinburgh suburb and studied at the University of St Andrews, had previously taught English in China before pursuing further studies in Chinese and globalization at King’s College London. He joined the China Research Group as a researcher in 2021, sharing his expertise on China through various platforms. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak termed the alleged espionage “obviously unacceptable,” revealing that he addressed the issue with Chinese leaders at the G20 summit. The case brings forth serious concerns about security and the extent of foreign infiltration in the UK’s political landscape.

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