Labour to launch a 'full audit' of UK-China relations if they win election, claims Ashworth

Labour to launch a 'full audit' of UK-China relations if they win election, claims Ashworth
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 26/03/2024

- 16:03

China has been sanctioned after two cyber attacks breached the personal data of 40 million people

A Labour government would launch a “full audit” of the UK’s relations with China, according to Shadow Cabinet minister Jonathan Ashworth.

He was commenting on reports criticising the Government’s actions following confirmation that hackers linked to China had managed to gain access to the records of 40 million voters held by the Electoral Commission.

The Shadow Paymaster General told GB News: “If any instances or concerns around national security are raised before us, we deal with it, because national security has to be an absolute priority, as does defending our democratic integrity.

“We welcome the action that was taken yesterday. We continue to believe these matters must be kept under review.

“We will do a full audit of UK-China relations should we get elected and I think the position that the UK adopted, say ten years ago, of announcing a new golden era of relations, I think that perhaps looks naïve now in retrospect.”

In a discussion during Breakfast with Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster, he continued: “We will in the Labour Party always prioritise national security and prioritise our democratic integrity, so we support what the Government has done.

“We do believe that we need to continue to keep all of these matters under review. In fact, if we were elected, we would do a full audit of all UK-China relations to fully understand our exposure to China and indeed give certainty to those businesses who trade with China.

“But we do support what the government announced yesterday, but we would continue to work on a cross-party basis with them to ensure that the right action is taken in response to any threat to our national security.”

He added: “It’s certainly true that China invested a lot in that British economy, and particularly over recent years, 20, 30, 40 years or so. We let a lot of our industry go, haven't we? We don't have the manufacturing base that we used to have, which is why we're more exposed to global factors.

“That's why our energy bills have gone up so much because we never invested in our own energy sources when we had the chance.”


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