An MP’s assistant arrested over suspicions she has been spying for Russia said she is “absolutely sure” she will win an appeal against deportation.
In her first public remarks, Katia Zatuliveter claimed she had been kept in the dark about why she was being kicked out of the UK.
Russian Miss Zatuliveter, 25, has been working for Liberal Democrat backbencher Mike Hancock for two-and-a-half years.
She was arrested on Thursday morning and is being held at an immigration detention centre.
In an email to BBC Russian, Miss Zatuliveter said: “I was arrested on Thursday at 7am and was told I would be deported. Nobody explained me why and this is my main concern.
“I was not told about the arrangement of the flight. I am in the process of appealing against the deportation and absolutely sure I will win it (if there is justice).”
Miss Zatuliveter broke her silence amid concerns in Westminster that an alleged spy had been able to work undetected in the House of Commons for so long.
However, Mr Hancock stood by her, insisting she had “nothing to hide” and challenging the security services to produce evidence against her.
Miss Zatuliveter underwent security vetting before becoming a House of Commons pass-holder and taking up her position as a full-time assistant two-and-a-half years ago.
Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted the Government was “vigilant” about such cases. “I think the fact that we are attending to a case like this shows that where we have concerns we do take action and I think that is the right way of approaching it,” he said.