A FORMER MI6 spy’s dossier has accused China and Huawei of running a “covert campaign” to target MPs and turn them into “useful idiots”.
The report was financed by a US film producer Andrew Duncan who hired Christopher Steele and his company Orbis Business Intelligence to help with the report.
Mr Steele is a former senior MI6 officer who ran its Russia desk, and the author of the dossier on Donald Trump that alleged links to Russia and claimed the existence of a compromising sex tape in Moscow’s possession.
Mr Trump has always denied the allegations.
The report, called China’s Elite Capture, is said to allege that fake radio stations, based abroad, were set up and senior figures invited on to panel discussions and interviews with the aim of encouraging them to support Huawei and even join its board.
It is also alleged social media was used to try to change people’s opinions.
The dossier names several prominent individuals it claimed had been targeted as part of the pro-Huawei campaign, saying the aim had been to make them China’s “useful idiots”.
Huawei denied the claims last night, saying it “refuted these unfounded allegations” which had “no basis in fact”. Sources said they believed the company was the victim of a US propaganda campaign to keep it out of the 5G network being built in Britain.
A number of people named in the report are said to have denied being targeted or influenced in any way.
Among those named are former Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who previously chaired the powerful Commons liaison committee.
She told The Telegraph she had no knowledge of any covert campaign.
Ms Wollaston claimed the only contact with Huawei she could recall was an offer made via an intermediary to sponsor an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the select committee’s system.
She said she rejected the offer.
Ms Wollaston told the paper: “If they tried to influence me, they didn’t get very far.”
Another on the list Lord Clement-Jones, a Liberal Democrat peer, said there would have been no need to target him as he sits on Huawei’s international advisory board.
He told The Guardian: “My connection to the company is well known. They don’t have to have fake radio shows to reach me as far as I’m concerned. It’s all very baffling. It’s all a fantasy. We are not putty in the hand of manipulators.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is thought to be behind plans to remove Huawei from any involvement in building the UK’s 5G network by 2023.
The Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming warned there would be “consequences” if the UK pulls the plug on Huawei.
Mr Xiamong claimed doing so would dent investor confidence in Britain.
“They are all watching,” he said. “There’s also an element of trust, how could people trust you? I do hope the British government will make the decision in the best interests, not only in China’s interests, not only in the interests of UK-China co-operation, but also in the interests of the UK itself.”
It was claimed Mr Steele and Orbis have contributed less than “ten per cent” to the report with sources close to Mr Steele insisting “it isn’t our report or our work” but that Chinese experts had worked on it.