MI6 names new ‘M’

MI6 names new ‘M’

Britain has a new “M” – the next head of MI6 has been unveiled.

Alex Younger has been appointed as successor to Sir John Sawers as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), otherwise known as MI6, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.

Described as a career SIS officer, Mr Younger has for the last two years been overseeing MI6’s intelligence operations worldwide.

He will take on the role fictionalised in Ian Fleming’s James Bond book and film series through the character M, most recently played by Judi Dench in Skyfall.

Mr Younger's appointment comes after a turbulent period for Britain's intelligence services following disclosures made by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Mr Snowden’s revelations effectively triggered an unprecedented hearing of the Intelligence and Security Committee, in which the heads of MI6, the Security Service MI5 and listening post GCHQ appeared together in public for the first time.

Snowden supporters believe the release of top-secret documents exposed an abuse of powers among the security and intelligence services in the UK and US, while his detractors claim his actions aided terrorists.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Younger said: “I am delighted and honoured to become chief of SIS and lead one of the best intelligence agencies in the world.

“Our dedicated staff work tirelessly against an array of threats that this country faces. They do so in close partnership with both MI5 and GCHQ with whom I am looking forward to co-operating closely.

“I would like to pay tribute to John Sawers for his lifetime’s dedication to the country and particularly to his time as C.

“He brought us into a new era, and I am determined to build on this and bring my ideas for a modern service to life.”

More in this Section

Scientists develop test that can diagnose Covid-19 in ‘just over an hour’Scientists develop test that can diagnose Covid-19 in ‘just over an hour’

Brown hares and chickens ‘treated as gods when they first arrived in Britain’Brown hares and chickens ‘treated as gods when they first arrived in Britain’

Euro countries agree ‘unprecedented’ support packageEuro countries agree ‘unprecedented’ support package

UK police release footage as officers face coughing and spitting during arrestsUK police release footage as officers face coughing and spitting during arrests


Lifestyle

Benefits of alpine plants scale new heights for Peter DowdallFall in love with stone huggers: Reasons to grow alpine plants

We may all have had a sneaky go at air-guitar playing, but what about crafting a real-life musical instrument yourself from scratch? If that hits a bum note, perhaps designing a pair of snazzy earrings or becoming your own interiors expert and redecorating your entire home is more your thing?Getting creative while staying home: Online workshops that should be a hit with all ages

Remote working has helped companies around the world to stay open during the virus crisis. It's a key building block to build the case for reduced hours in the workplace, says an entrepreneur who say we are more productive when we work four days a week.Less is more: Building case for the four-day week

Kya deLongchamps puts sails on the laundry with refreshing reasons to dry outdoors.Great drying out there: How to make drying clothes a breeze

More From The Irish Examiner