Chinese ‘state-affiliated’ organisations behind cyber-attacks on MPs and Electoral Commission, Dowden says – UK politics live

Chinese ‘state-affiliated’ organisations behind cyber-attacks on MPs and Electoral Commission, Dowden says – UK politics live

Please note: This is not a public comment – only the Guardian can see your message. Our writers will monitor these messages and respond to some in this live blog, but unfortunately they will not be able to respond to every message. Mon 25 Mar 2024 17.24 CETFirst published on Mon 25 Mar 2024 10.31 CET Dowden says goverment still trying to reach agreement on whether to submit China to ‘enhanced’ scrutiny under National Security Act The Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who like Iain Duncan Smith is one of the MPs sanctioned by Bejiing, says he is “underwhelmed” by the statement. He asks if China will be put in the enhanced sphere under the National Security Act 2023, meaning that people acting on its behalf in the UK would be subject to enhanced scrutiny in recogniton of the threat they posed. (See 9.31am.) Dowden says the government is currently in the process of getting “collective government agreement” on the enhanced sphere decision. He says the evidence he has produced today “will have a very strong bearing on the decision that we make”. On the Electoral Commission, he says the Chinese did not access the closed register – the names of people whose names are not on the public register. On David Cameron, he says the normal propriety checks were carried out before he was appointed. And, on Cameron’s appearance at the 1922 Committee later, Dowden says that will be a wide-ranging meeting, and not a specific briefing on China. He suggests that, if opposition parties want a briefing on China, they might be offered one. Pat McFadden, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, is responding now. He says Labour will support the government in protecting democracy. He asks why the government thinks China wanted to hack the electoral register. He asks if it is thought that China will be engaging in the sort of “hack and leak” activities that Russia has been engaged in. And he asks what the governmnet has done to investigate the suggestion in the intelligence and security committee’s report that David Cameron’s role as vice president of a UK-China investment fund was “in some part engineered by the Chinese state to lend credibility to Chinese investment, as well as to the broader China brand”. And he says there was a second cyber-attack, “almost certainly” from the Chinese state-affliated group APT31, aimed at UK parliamentary accounts. He says the attack was blocked by parliament’s cybersecurity system and was “wholly unsuccessful”. But targeting MPs like this is “wholly unacceptable”, he says. He goes on: Taken together, the United Kingdom judges that these actions demonstrate a clear and persistent pattern of behaviour that signal hostile intent from China. That is why the United Kingdom has today sanctioned two individuals and one entity associated with the Chinese state affiliated APT31 group for involvement in malicious cyber activity.

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