Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is calling for determined action to protect public decision-making from the inappropriate, behind-the-scenes influence of arms companies.
The recent revelations of recruitment by arms companies of former military personnel confirm that the 'revolving door' is in full swing, that its main purpose is to apply inappropriate influence, and that it acts for vested interests and against the public good.
The personal approaches of former civil servants, ministers and military personnel are a key element of the insidious political influence being wielded by arms companies. This influence actively undermines rigorous decision making. In this situation it is unsurprising that arms manufacturers and exporters have enjoyed disproportionate financial and political support from successive UK governments.
Kaye Stearman of CAAT said: "The revelation that senior ex-military figures are willing to wield inappropriate influence for arms companies is shocking, but it hardly comes as a surprise. What we have seen is simply a blatant exposé of what we know goes on all the time: insidious political influence being wielded by arms companies and undermining the public interest.
"There seems little doubt that this is one reason why military spending has been protected from the worst of the cuts. We urgently need to end arms companies' power within Whitehall to create the space for spending priorities to be decided for the public good."
CAAT is calling for immediate changes as a first step towards curbing the political influence of arms companies:
* a five-year ban on ministers and government officials working for arms companies they have had direct dealings with in the last two years of their public office.
* a five-year ban on ministers and government officials making representations to any department or individual with whom they have had direct dealings in the last two years of their service.
* a permanent ban on ministers and government officials changing sides in any ongoing proceedings in which they have been involved.