I have a panic button in every room in case China ‘hurts me’, says senior Tory
A senior Tory MP has revealed she has a panic button in every room of her house because “hostile states” such as China may want to hurt her.
Alicia Kearns, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said she was advised to install the alarms after receiving death threats and threats directed at her children.
Ms Kearns, who was elected to lead the influential committee last October, is outspoken in her belief that China constitutes a threat to the UK.
In an interview with GB News, which will be broadcast today, she reveals the lengths MPs are forced to go to in order to ensure their security.
“There are MPs whose children are taken to school by the police every morning,” she said.
“There are colleagues who are told that they need police protection at all times in their own constituencies, who have stalkers, who have people outside their offices in balaclavas.
“I was advised that I needed panic alarms in every room in my house because of death threats I’ve received, threats against my children who are both under four, and because of the interest in hostile states in trying to undermine me and hurt me.
“So that’s why I was given that advice and, of course, you take the advice that’s given to you by security experts.”
A hostile state
In the interview, she shares her concerns about China as a “hostile state” seeking to undermine people through access to their data.
Ms Kearns, who was involved in a successful campaign for the TikTok social media app to be banned from government phones, said: “The reality is that we are under attack from authoritarian states every single day.
“Covid was the authoritarian regime’s dream, because everyone had to download technologies to track who they were interacting with,” she said.
“But we have a greater threat, which is China. And they are trying to build a tech totalitarian state. And the way you do that is by accumulating data, they need to suck in as much data as they can around the world.
“So exfiltrating our data is their priority alongside techno authoritarianism, which is essentially the insertion of technologies into our lives where we become dependent and reliant on them.
“Because the more dependent we are as a country on China, the more castrated we are on the world stage. You cannot stand up to China if you are reliant on them for technologies, if they have your data, and if they’ve weaponised resources around the world. And so TikTok is a good example.”
‘Pork pie plot’
In the interview, she also said that “without question” she was identified with a so-called “pork pie plot” against Boris Johnson because of sexism.
In January 2022, Ms Kearns - the MP for Rutland and Melton, where pork pies are produced - was present at a meeting with other Tory MPs who were accused of planning to oust Mr Johnson.
Asked whether there was “an element of sexism about how you were singled out as a ringleader during that period”, she said: “without question, and those individuals responsible for that know who they are.”
“I’ll be completely transparent, there was a meeting in my office of a group of Conservative MPs, there had been other meetings and other days and other offices, where we discussed whether or not Boris Johnson had let down the Conservative Party and let down the people of this country. It is incumbent on Conservative MPs to have that discussion, and I’m not ashamed of that.
“But was it briefed out to the media as a ‘pork pie plot’ because they were worried about what we might be planning? Yes.”
She claimed that the Whips’ office told the media that she had taken her daughter with her on an official visit to Ukraine in January 2022 as an attempt to put pressure on her.
She said: “The only two people in the room briefed out against were Dehenna Davison and me... the only two women in the room.
“They briefed out about her love life, which was shameful, and they briefed out against me, the Whips’ office, that I was a bad mother because I’d taken my daughter with me to Ukraine.
“It was perfectly safe to take my daughter to Ukraine at that time. But the fact that they did that and that was the best they could find on me… I think there’s some serious questions to be asked there about who made those decisions and why they thought that was at all appropriate.”