MI5 has been named the most gay-friendly employer in the UK following a survey by a gay rights charity.

Stonewall assessed a range of factors including staff engagement and career development, finding MI5 at the top of the tree ahead of around 400 organsiations.

MI5 scored highly on 10 employment practices, such as networking groups, training and community engagement.

MI5 director general Andrew Parker said: "Diversity is vital for MI5, not just because it's right that we represent the communities we serve, but because we rely on the skills of the most talented people whoever they are, and wherever they may be."

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall's chief executive said: "We know that people perform better when they can be themselves and it's been proven that diversity among staff leads to a more productive, positive and creative workplace environment."

Leicestershire County Council was named the most gay friendly local authority (7th overall), Cheshire Fire and Rescue was the best emergency service (13th), and Cardiff University was the best education organisation (20th).