Britain acted quickly to take a database used by its defence ministry offline after - media reports said - it was hacked by the Chinese state, a senior British minister said on Tuesday.

"The MoD (Ministry of Defence) has acted very swiftly to take this database offline. It's a third-party database and certainly not one run directly by the MoD," Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told Sky News.

Stride said Defence Secretary Grant Shapps would make a statement to parliament about the matter later on Tuesday. (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Kate Holton)