MI5 director general Sir Jonathan Evans to step down next month

 

Defence Correspondent

The head of MI5, Sir Jonathan Evans, is to step down next month after being in charge at a time when the Service faced the rising threat of Islamist extremism.

Sir Jonathan’s successor will be announced in the near future to take over from the end of next month. The selection process has been under way for some time and, it is believed, his deputy is a strong contender for the post.

The last four director-generals were chosen from within the Secret Service. The last one to come from outside was Sir Anthony Duff who was appointed at the age of 65 to carry out sweeping reforms within the organisation after scathing criticism by the Security Commission following the conviction on Michael Bettany, a MI5 officer was convicted of trying to pass secrets to the Soviet embassy in London.

Evans, who had joined the Service in 1980 was selected by Duff to join the team carrying out a programme of modernisation.  He was appointed director-general, succeeding Dame Eliza Manningham -Buller,  ten days before the 9/11 attacks and the start of the US led War on Terror and was in charge during the 7/7 attacks in London.

Evans refocused MI5 from the Cold War and Northern Irelan towards the investigation of Islamist terrorism. The Service has had a series of successes in his watch preventing Islamist terrorist attacks in the UK, some of them resulting in successful prosecutions and convictions in high profile trials. Latterly his organisation has been dealing with the fallout of the Arab Spring in which Syria has become the top destination for British Muslims seeking jihad.

However, there were also claims of complicity in the treatment of detainees by the Americans such as Binyam Mohammed - charges the service has strongly denied.

The successor will be announced by the Home Secretary after deliberation by a committee and input from the Prime Minister. Theresa May said of Sir Jonathan :"He has experienced the service evolving over the years and as director general has led the service through particularly challenging times of change and unrest, including the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings.His tireless work helped ensure the delivery of a safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games last year."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence