From MI5 to a novel existence

By James Martin, April 2, 2009
Dame Stella Rimington (left) with  league president Ella Marks

Dame Stella Rimington (left) with league president Ella Marks

Former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington gave over 200 League of Jewish Women supporters an insight into life in the security services at a central London meeting.

Dame Stella recounted her rise up the MI5 ladder from the lowly base of a desk job in New Delhi. Having moved to India in the 1960s with her civil servant husband, she was “tapped on the shoulder and asked to join up”. Things are “very different now, with an application process and interviews just like any other career”.

On wider issues, she voiced concern at the potential infringement of civil liberties by the introduction of ID cards. She hoped the government would be cautious in funding the scheme, “at least until we know what the actual benefit of having them will be”.

In her new role as a spy thriller writer, Dame Stella’s latest novel Dead Line is set around a Middle East peace conference in Gleneagles and the plot line involves a Mossad agent.

Asked if she had drawn upon know-ledge of Mossad operations during her time at MI5, she declined to reply beyond stating: “This is a work of fiction.”

Last updated: 3:48pm, April 2 2009