Clarion Events, organisers of exhibitions including the Baby Show and the Spirit of Christmas Fair, have announced their purchase of two arms fairs. This is in addition to the three arms fairs they bought in May 2008, despite growing public opposition to the arms trade.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a coalition of individuals and organisations including church groups, has predicted that the announcement, made yesterday, will further weaken Clarion's reputation.
The company's newly acquired arms fairs are UDT Asia-Pacific, which will take place in Sydney on 4th-6th November, and UDT Europe, to be held in Paris in June 2009.
In May this year, Clarion bought three arms fairs from Reed Elsevier, who sold them after a campaign co-ordinated by CAAT and including many of Reed's own shareholders and customers.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill declared: "Clarion's bosses have shown once again that they are out of touch with British public opinion. In recent years companies such as Reed Elsevier have improved both their ethics and their reputation be ending their involvement in the arms trade."
He added: "campaign Against Arms Trade has already been contacted by many people disgusted that the organisers of the Baby Show are facilitating the sale of arms."
The news comes only days after public opposition led to the cancellation of a major arms fair in Adelaide, Australia, known as the Asia-Pacific Defence and Security Exhibition (APDSE).
It had been due to begin on Remembrance Day, a fact which critics had described as "grotesquely insensitive".