Former MI5 chief warns food supplies are matter of national security

The UK should increase visas for seasonal workers as part of a drive to cultivate as much food as possible domestically, a former chief of MI5 has said.

Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, who led the domestic intelligence service from 2002 to 2007, said in a lecture that security of food supplies would fit within the government’s own definition of national security. She said she believed this meant strengthening domestic supply.

“We need to acknowledge that we should produce as much of our own food as we can, with due regard to sustainability, and be able to export what we can,” the former director-general of the Security Service told members of the National Farmers ‘ Union.

“Several people [have] said that [food security] was about just getting a secure food line from somewhere else. . . I’ve interpreted it differently,” Manningham-Buller said.

“We have a hope that we will continue to get food from our nearest neighbors as we get energy from them. But I think the more we can be self-sufficient, the better chances we have of standing price hikes, spikes, shocks and so on — and politics.”

Manningham-Buller, who now runs a small sheep farm in Wales, added: “[We] clearly need a better visa policy so that these workers who are not available here can come here and help us.

“We must have visas for seasonal workers. And it’s not just about [the food sector], there’s a shortage of labor across the economy, whether it’s care homes, whether it’s doctors

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