James Sunderland questions Government on MPs’ security, surveillance and counter-surveillance

Following the Government statement responding to claims of an ongoing counter-terrorism police investigation involving a parliamentary researcher conducting espionage on behalf of China, James Sunderland asks if enough is being done in relation to the governance of MPs’ physical security, surveillance and counter-surveillance, malware and IT on phones and other Trojan viruses.

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)

This unsavoury episode serves as a reminder for all of us in this place of the threats we face, not just from state interference but from a variety of malign actors. Can I please ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether we are doing enough to think about our physical security, surveillance and counter-surveillance, malware and IT on our phones and other Trojan viruses, and governance of MPs’ security?

The Deputy Prime Minister (Oliver Dowden)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise all of those points. It is the case, not just in respect of China but also of Russia—particularly in light of the Russia-Ukraine war—and, indeed, Iran and other hostile states that the threat landscape is increasing, and the Government have to continually increase their actions. Through the creation of the National Cyber Security Centre and its work with GCHQ, we are able to constantly increase our action in respect of cyber-threats, malware and the other threats that my hon. Friend highlighted, and in respect of physical security, we have a mirror in the National Protective Security Authority working with MI5. In turn, the agencies also work with the Parliamentary Security Department, which deals directly with threats to Members of Parliament and is supported by those agencies and others.