Two men including someone from Oxfordshire have been told they will face trial next year accused of spying for China.

Christopher Cash, 29, from Whitechapel, east London, and Christopher Berry, 32, of Witney in Oxfordshire, are accused of an offence under the Official Secrets Act.

They appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday where Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told them their trial is “likely to be in the spring or summer of next year” and on a date that has yet to be set.

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Cash and Berry spoke only to confirm their personal details. No pleas were given.

They were both conditionally bailed to appear at the Old Bailey for a further preliminary hearing on October 4.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring granted both men conditional bail on April 26, which in Cash’s case included not to contact MPs or to enter the parliamentary estate.

Cash was told he was permitted to contact his local MP on constituency matters.

He was also ordered not to contact any other staff of parliamentarians.

Cash and Berry were also told not to travel outside the UK and not to contact each other. They were also ordered to sign on at a police station.

China has dismissed the charges as “self-staged political farce”.

Cash worked as a parliamentary researcher and was closely linked to senior Tories including Tom Tugendhat – now security minister – and Alicia Kearns, who serves as chairwoman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee

Berry worked in various teaching posts in China from September 2015 and was arrested while on holiday in the UK.

The charge alleges that between January 2022 and February 2023, Cash, “for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State, obtained, collected, recorded, published or communicated to any other person articles, notes, documents or information which were calculated to be, might be, or were intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy”.

Berry is accused of the same offence between December 2021 and February 2023.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle previously told MPs two people had been charged on a matter “relating to national security”, one of whom was a parliamentary pass holder.