Protest tonight at 'arms dealers dinner' in London

By agency reporter
January 23, 2019

A protest will take place from 18:30 this evening (23 January 2019) outside Grosvenor House in Park Lane, London, when it hosts the Aerospace, Defence & Security Group's (ADS) annual dinner. The ADS is an arms industry trade body that represents most of the world's biggest arms firms.

The event, which costs £225 per head for members and £450 for non-members, will include a keynote speech from former Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has written to Johnson urging him to reconsider his attendance, but has received no reply.

The event will be attended by politicians from across the House of Commons. In 2015 CAAT obtained a copy of the final guest list and seating plan, which included over 40 MPs.

The companies that have paid for MPs to attend previous events include many that have profited from the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen.

  • BAE Systems is Europe's biggest arms company. It produces the Typhoon aircraft that is being used by Saudi-led forces in the bombardment of Yemen. It is currently in negotiations to sell another set of fighter jets to the regime.
  • Raytheon makes the Paveway IV bombs that are being used by Saudi-led forces in the bombing. They are produced in the UK and have been linked to attacks on civilian targets.
  • According to the company website "Northrop Grumman has been heavily involved in the training and development of the Saudi military personnel, most notably providing technical services for the Ministry of the National Guard."

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "Many of the companies in attendance have armed and supported the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen. While Yemen is being starved, the arms dealers will be swilling champagne, cosying up to politicians and trying to sell even more weapons.

"Alan Johnson is a respected public figure and should not be speaking at such a grotesque event. He should not be using his reputation to legitimise and enable those that profit from war and conflict.”

* Campaign Against Arms Trade



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