Official's wife 'murdered Briton'

The wife of a senior Communist Party official in China is being held over the murder of a British businessman, state media has reported.

Gu Kailai is accused over the "intentional homicide" of 41-year-old Neil Heywood, the official Xinhua news agency reported, naming a household orderly as a second suspect.

Meanwhile, her husband Bo Xilai - a former rising star in Chinese politics - has been suspended from the party's 25-member Politburo amid allegations of "serious discipline violations".

Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed news of the reinvestigation into Mr Heywood's death, adding that he had "taken a personal interest" in it. He told Sky News: "I decided a few weeks ago that we should ask the Chinese authorities to investigate the death of Mr Heywood, so of course I welcome the announcement. The Chinese are doing as we asked them to do and we now look forward to seeing those investigations take place and in due course hearing the outcome of those investigations."

Mr Heywood was found dead on November 15 in Chongqing in central China, where Mr Bo served as local party chief.

At the time, officials said the British expat died of "excessive alcohol consumption". But friends raised concern over the incident, stating that the businessman was not known to be a heavy drinker.

In February, Mr Bo's former police chief Wang Lijun sought refuge in the US consulate in China. It is thought he made a number of claims against the politician and his wife, including her alleged role in Mr Heywood's death.

State media said on Tuesday that Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at Mr Bo's home, had been turned over to judicial authorities. Mr Bo, his wife and their son had been friends with Mr Heywood but had recently clashed over a financial matter, state media suggested.

"According to investigation results, Bogu Kailai, wife of Comrade Bo Xilai, and their son were in good terms with Mr Heywood. However, they had conflict over economic interests, which had been intensified," Xinhua reported, adding: "Whoever has broken the law will be handled in accordance with law and will not be tolerated, no matter who is involved."

Mr Heywood had lived in China for 10 years and was fluent in Mandarin. He had two children with his Chinese wife. It is understood his mother lives in London.