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Winning here: the Lib Dems’ links with China

Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Earlier this week Mr S brought you news of the latest interminable row splitting the Lib Dems: what to do about Vince Cable? The ex-leader has alienated his party’s youth wing with his comments about the Chinese Communist party and Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims. Cable has denied that genocide is taking place in Xinjiang and also defended the Hong Kong government’s crackdown on protesters on the grounds that ‘there’s got to be order.’ Bull in the China shop stuff indeed.

Now Mr S has been delving into the links of some of Cable’s colleagues from the Coalition government. Back then, it was the so-called ‘golden era’ of UK-China relations with Sinophilia all the rage in SW1 – a phenomena from which the Lib Dems were by no means exempt. After being dumped out of Parliament at the 2015 election, Cable’s fellow Cabinet minister Danny Alexander went to work as the number two man at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Beijing – an institution used to front the country’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’

Joining Cable and Alexander around the Cabinet table was Ed Davey who registered a £5,000 donation for his (successful) leadership campaign from Michael Rake when he was an adviser of Huawei. Still employed at the same company is Ashley Lumsden, a former special adviser to Cable, who now does PR and government relations for the controversial Chinese tech giant. Others at similar firms include Ben Rathe, who was press secretary to Cable’s successor Jo Swinson, and who now works as a corporate communications manager for Tik Tok alongside Sara Mosavi – Swinson’s head of office during her (brief) tenure at the top.

Nick Clegg’s own special adviser, Ryan Coetzee, ran the party’s disastrous 2015 election campaign and now brings such expertise to his current role at Consulum.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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