Election Protests at BAE Systems AGM, Wednesday 4 May 2005: 'Take Them Out of Number 10'

28 April 2005

Photo-call: A door, resembling the door to Number 10 Downing Street, set on an axis so it can rotate - a revolving door - with an actor dressed as Tony Blair will invite two BAE Systems businessmen into number 10 with a banner backdrop reading 'BAE Systems: Take Them Out of Number 10' outside the AGM venue, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London at 10.30 am on Wednesday 4 May.

LONDON: Demonstrators will protest outside the Annual General Meeting of the world's fourth largest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems PLC on Wednesday 4 May from 10.30 am at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London. Campaign Against Arms Trade is calling for an end to the unfair political influence which arms companies have on Government policy, especially the 'revolving door'[1] between arms companies and Government. About fifty people are expected to demonstrate while shareholder activists will attend the AGM.

The revolving door between Government and arms companies is one of the mechanisms that allows arms companies inappropriate access to Government and 'corporate capture'. CAAT's new campaign 'Call the Shots' aims to redress the public interest by exposing these mechanisms and calling for safeguards to be introduced[2].

Anna Jones, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade said

"Under the Labour Government, as with previous administrations, it's been business as usual for arms exports to repressive regimes and conflict zones. The new incumbents to 10 Downing Street should put the public interest first and remove the mechanisms, like the 'revolving door', which allow arms companies to capture arms export policy."

ENDS

For more information please contact: CAAT Press Office on 020 7281 0297

Editor's Notes

A briefing reviewing BAE Systems performance over the past year is available on request.

[1] On average, between 1997 and 2004, 39% of all applications to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (the body that regulates moves to private sector employment by the "most senior members of the Civil Service, the Armed Forces and the Diplomatic Service"), were made by individuals working in the MoD. Presently there is a voluntary three month cooling-off period between staff leaving the Government/civil service/armed forces and taking employment with arms companies. CAAT is calling for a mandatory five year cooling-off period.

[2] Mechanisms for corporate capture include: 'revolving doors' where people move between employment in arms companies and the Government, the governing Party, the military and the civil service; Government advisory bodies that are over represented by arms company representatives; lobby companies (employed by arms companies) often staffed with former Government/ governing Party insiders; Peers in the pay of arms companies; sponsorship to the governing Party by arms companies; and increasing private provision of military services via Public Private Partnerships. Further details are contained in CAAT's report 'Who calls the shots? How Government-corporate collusion drives arms exports' available on paper or online.

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