UK legislation must recognise all types of espionage says MP

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Conservative MP Alicia Kearns has highlighted the need for the UK to have a major rethink on legislation around treason following the high-profile case of ISIS bride Shamima Begum. Last month, Begum asked the British public for forgiveness, saying in an interview from a Syrian refugee camp that there is “no evidence” she was a key player in preparing terrorist acts and is prepared to prove her innocence in court.

Mr Kearns told Express.co.uk: “When the average person thinks of espionage out on the street they do think about the James Bond-esque characters or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or something like that.

“But actually espionage can be at all levels of our society.

“It can be academics providing information about the research they are undertaking, it can be people who work for businesses selling information they have.

“It can be people in the military selling secrets, espionage can be an extremely limited thing in the public sphere in terms of how we think about it.

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“But actually when we bring forward legislation on this it needs to take account of the number of different ways in which people can be spies.

“The ways in which people can betray their countries when we look at the treason act.

“Shamima Begum for example not falling under the treason act – utter lunacy.”

“These are things we need to fix because we do live in this world of hybrid warfare.”

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Ms Kearns told Express.co.uk: “We need to protect against espionage so we need a new bill which the Government is going to be bringing forward to tackle foreign agents.

“In the UK at the moment treason is if you sleep with King Henry VIII’s wife!

“It is not if you go out there to essentially betray your country.”

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We need to really do that and make sure the Offical Secrets Act is updated which we are also doing.”

At the same time, the Conservative backbencher warned Boris Johnson‘s Government needs to act drastically to combat the attempts of China to undermine British democracy and national security.

The China Research Group MP told Express.co.uk that the UK is in a “constant state of hybrid warfare” with aggressive foreign powers, notably Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime.

Ms Kearns continued: “The way in which countries seek to achieve their goals and undermine others has fundamentally shifted.

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