News ID: 266210
Published: 0203 GMT February 26, 2020

Queen makes first public visit to MI5 HQ to raise declining morale

Queen makes first public visit to MI5 HQ to raise declining morale

The Queen has publicly visited the headquarters of the Security Service, MI5, for the first time during her 66-year reign.

This highly unusual function comes on the heels of successive setbacks for MI5, including repeated terror attacks on the streets of London and a highly public row with the political establishment, notably Home Secretary Priti Patel, Presstv Reported.

MI5 is also under increasing pressure to arrest the momentum of the Scottish independence movement.

Visiting the MI5 HQ at Thames House in London, the Queen, 93, praised the Security Service for carrying out “vital work” at “home and abroad” to keep “people safe”.

This unusually effusive praise of the UK’s intelligence services by the Queen comes at a time of acute stress within MI5 and growing signs of a collapse in morale and cohesion.

Besides recent setbacks, in the past decade MI5 has come under growing criticism for not even fully protecting its own assets let alone ordinary members of the public.

The alleged poisoning of Russian double agent (and MI6 asset), Sergei Skripal (who was attacked in Salisbury in March 2018), is widely regarded as MI5’s biggest failure since the successful assassination in London of another Russian double agent, Alexander Litvinenko, in November 2006.

In an effort to cover up its own operational failings – and possible internal divisions – MI5 attributed the attempted assassination of Skripal to the Russian foreign military intelligence service, the GRU.

The Queen will be hoping her visit to Thames House will motivate MI5 to contain the threat emanating from the UK’s centrifugal forces, notably the quest for Scottish independence and potential political unrest in the north of Ireland.

Although this is the Queen’s first official and public visit to MI5 HQ, the monarch is believed to make unpublicized visits to MI5 at least once a year.      

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