London, August 18 : Intelligence service MI5 is planning is recruiting homosexual spies, and trying to improve working conditions for gay staff. Produced by homosexual lobby group Stonewall, an advertisement for the purpose is all set to appear in the graduate recruitment guide of gay-friendly employers.
The secretive network is also said to have set up a gay and lesbian "network" to help gay staff to come out.
Ben Summerskill, the Director of Stonewall, said that the agency might have decided to employ gays and lesbians because "people from all minority communities do have experience of getting on with people who are different, and of fitting in".
"They are also good at doing these things in a way that is not conspicuous," British tabloid The Sun quoted him as saying.
He also appeared upbeat that MI5's gay and lesbian staff numbers would reflect modern Britain in "ten to 15 years".
MI5 barred gays from sensitive roles after two members of the Cambridge spy ring, which passed secrets to Russia in the 1950s, were found to be gay. The ban was lifted in the early 1990s.
Since the London Tube bombings three years ago MI5 has actively recruited British Muslims and Asian language speakers, and now the gay community has become the next target.
"There's no reason why there shouldn't be a gay or lesbian director general of MI5," the Daily Star quoted Summerskill as saying.
A Whitehall source said that MI5 was aiming to "reflect the broad range of UK society it serves".