Cybersecurity and UK Democracy - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 8:33 pm ar 26 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone Ceidwadwyr 8:33, 26 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, clearly, these events are deplorable, unacceptable and have been widely condemned. I admire all the steps the Government have taken to improve cybersecurity and much else besides, but I also ask for a sense of proportion. China is our fourth largest trading nation. Like the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, I have been very involved with the International Chamber of Commerce, and we believe that through trade comes more civilised relationships and wealth creation. We know that in China—for all the evil in China—a vast number of people have been lifted out of poverty.

Is there anything we can learn from America, which talks a big talk but carries on trading? My concern is that the pendulum will swing again. The Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday in another place:

The UK’s policy towards China is anchored in our core national interests”.—[Official Report, Commons, 25/3/24; col. 1262.]

Our national interests are to protect democracy, but also to ensure that trade continues to flourish. Like many people who have been a spending Minister, I know how much we want to spend on hospitals, schools and prisons, and I do not want this debate to result in a detriment to the British economy. But I do deplore the behaviour in which China has been involved.