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China ‘to blame’ for Barbados ditching Queen for ’emperor in Beijing’

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Barbados is ditching the Queen for the "emperor" of China, a senior Tory MP has claimed.

Tom Tugendhat reckons Chinese pressure is fuelling the island's latest bid to remove the British monarch as head of state.

He said other commonwealth nations in the Caribbean were also "close" to swapping the symbolic head of state for a "real and demanding emperor in Beijing".

The chairman of the foreign affairs committee added told the Times: "China has been using infrastructure investment and debt diplomacy as means of control for a while and it's coming closer to home for us.

"British partners have long faced challenges from rivals seeking to undermine our alliance.

"Today we're seeing it in the Caribbean. Some islands seem to be close to swapping a symbolic Queen in Windsor for a real and demanding emperor in Beijing."

Mr Tugendhat raised his concerns in a speech entitled "Reappraising UK foreign policy towards China" in an online webinar for the Royal United Services Institute.

He added: "It's interesting because of course the UK is really not a monarchy, we're a republic pretending to be a monarchy.

"The Crown in parliament after all is simply a recognition that the people are sovereign."

The MP refused to go into detail over China's alleged tactics to undermine Brit influence.

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But CIA intelligence about Chinese activities in Barbados has been shared with Britain, a source told the paper.

The Barbados governor general Dame Sandra Mason announced the island would cast off the Queen as its ceremonial head last week.

It's the third time the island – which gained independence in 1966 – has said it wanted to ditch the Queen in less than 20 years.

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Claiming they wanted a Barbadian head of state, the Dame said: "The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind."

Barbados is a member of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.

The project sees China target infrastructure investment in strategic land and maritime locations.

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British analysts have said it helps Beijing win votes in international forums such as the United Nations and encourage states to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and switch allegiance to China.

The Chinese embassy in the UK has been contacted for comment.

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