An MP’s assistant denied she was a Russian spy and said she was “absolutely” confident of winning an appeal against her deportation.
In her first public remarks, Ekaterina Zatuliveter claimed she had been kept in the dark about why she was arrested and now faced being kicked out of the UK.
The 25-year-old Russian, who has been working for Liberal Democrat backbencher Mike Hancock for two and a half years, is expected to meet lawyers today.
She was arrested last Thursday after a six-month investigation by MI5, and is being held at an immigration detention centre.
In an email to BBC Russian, Miss Zatuliveter – known as Katia – said nobody had explained to her why she was to be reported.
“I am in the process of appealing against the deportation and absolutely sure I will win it (if there is justice),” she wrote.
In further correspondence with The Daily Telegraph, she denied working as a spy for Moscow, saying: “No, there is no truth in this suggestion.”
Mr Hancock has defended his assistant and said he was arranging legal representation for her. But there are concerns in Westminster that an alleged spy had access to Parliament for so long.
Miss Zatuliveter came to the UK three years ago to study at Bradford University and underwent security vetting before becoming a House of Commons pass-holder and taking up her position as an MP’s assistant.
Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted the Government was “vigilant” about such cases.