UK spy chief Alex Younger warns China of ‘western influence’

Image copyright AFP Image caption MI6 chief Alex Younger revealed he watched a Mao-era propaganda movie in 2014

In what is thought to be his last major public speech as MI6 chief, Alex Younger has warned China will use “the superiority of its empire to erode the British commonwealth”.

Speaking at an event at the University of Glasgow on Friday, he said: “You’ve got the challenge of the economic might of China and other countries, which has allowed them to grasp the power to influence the agenda of elites in other countries.”

His speech is the final leg of a tour that began in London and took him to three countries, Norway, Argentina and the US.

It comes after spy chiefs from France, Germany and Brazil warned of Beijing’s growing clout in the West.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Younger joined a screen which played Mao’s ‘little red book’ propaganda film

In his speech in Glasgow, Mr Younger revealed that he watched a Mao-era propaganda movie in 2014.

He added: “I’ll always be a bit embarrassed that you saw a Mao film playing at a dinner, and I was an MI6 chief.

“I watched the film the same day, as I was leaving MI6 because I wanted to be patriotic about the movement.”

In the speech, he said the English language was one of the greatest achievements of English-speaking people.

Mr Younger joined MI6 in 1977, after working for the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office.

He said he has been in permanent charge of MI6 for eight years, since his predecessor, Robert Hannigan, stood down in July 2016.

Mr Younger would not comment on the apparent resignation of his predecessor, saying: “It’s my personal experience that things change around one’s favourite setting and the people who one keeps in a job.”

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