A spy in Parliament? Fears about Chinese espionage grip the U.K.

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LONDON — A parliamentary researcher arrested, two lawmaker candidates withdrawn after security service warnings and a week of anxious whispers about spies in the British corridors of power unlike anything since the Cold War.

Only this time the furor is about China, whose alleged espionage to influence governments and target dissidents abroad is gaining growing attention and criticism in the West.

The revelations rocking Westminster follow Chinese spying allegations in Canada, Australia and elsewhere, raising questions about America’s allies and the balancing act they are trying to play between courting and censuring China.

“I have been distinctly concerned about the position of the British government with regard to China and its determination to undermine Western nations,” Iain Duncan Smith, a current lawmaker and former leader of the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2003, told NBC News.