UK

Foreign spies face prosecution and deportation under new laws forcing people to ‘register presence’

Foreign spies face prosecution and deportation under new laws that will ‘force everyone working for foreign governments to register their presence’

  • Queen’s Speech in May reportedly to be used by Prime Minister to announce bill 
  • It is expected to outline measures to protect UK from likes of China and Russia 
  • People working on behalf of foreign governments will have to register presence 

Foreign spies operating in Britain will be prosecuted and deported under new laws to protect the country from hostile states.

The Queen’s Speech on May 11 will reportedly be used by the Prime Minister to announce a bill outlining measures to protect Britain from the likes of Russia and China.

It will mandate that all individuals working on behalf of foreign governments in the country will have to register their presence – not doing so will become a criminal offence, The Times reported.

Intelligence agencies have warned that under current laws, foreign spies are immune from the law unless they are caught acquiring official secrets. (Pictured, flag of the Chinese Communist Party)

The Official Secrets Act, which is intended to protect the United Kingdom from espionage, will be updated so it can be used against anyone attempting to undermine Britain’s interest from abroad. (Pictured, GCHQ headquarters in Gloucestershire)

The Official Secrets Act, which is intended to protect the United Kingdom from espionage, will be updated so it can be used against anyone attempting to undermine Britain’s interest from abroad. (Pictured, GCHQ headquarters in Gloucestershire) 

Intelligence agencies have warned that under current laws, foreign spies are immune from the law unless they are caught acquiring official secrets.

It is believed that Britain will aim to have a similar register to the Foreign Agents Registration Act in the US, which extends to anyone representing the interests of a foreign state.

The Official Secrets Act, which is intended to protect the United Kingdom from espionage, will be updated so it can be used against anyone attempting to undermine Britain’s interest from abroad. 

With some parts written in 1911, ministers hope to adjust the legislation so it can be used against those carrying out foreign cyberattacks.

They are also considering whether to raise the maximum sentence – which is currently two years for most offences – for any breaches of the act.

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