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Politics latest news: UK ‘must accept it is in a war’ with China

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Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the UK Government needed to accept it was in a “war” with China following reports Beijing was behind a cyber attack on a Ministry of Defence database. 

The former Cabinet minister, a vocal critic of the Chinese regime, said the UK had been “pretty hopeless” at challenging Beijing over wrongdoing. 

He told Sky News: “The reluctance I think comes from this panic that somehow if we upset China, China will kill the business. That is not going to happen because China is itself desperate at the moment for trade.

“They will blow hard at us but we have got to recognise if we don’t stand up for the defence of our freedoms, our human rights, our right to speak out if we wish it, then we will be worth nothing in the free world and I am afraid China is winning this war and we are not even prepared to accept that it is a war.”

Rishi Sunak said there were indications a “malign actor” had hacked into the armed forces payment network but he declined to attribute blame. 

The database is run by a third party rather than by the MoD directly and Downing Street said at lunchtime that a security review was under way. 

The Chinese embassy in the UK said claims that Beijing was behind the cyber attack were “completely fabricated and malicious slanders”. 

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