As Tony Blair announced his resignation today, campaigners insisted that his closeness with BAE Systems had been a defining characteristic of his premiership. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) suggested that he will be remembered for his controversial decision to curtail a corruption inquiry into BAE's arms deals with Saudi Arabia. They also pointed out that he had continued the Tories' policy of using taxpayers' money to subsidise the arms trade.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:
"Tony Blair's Labour government came to power promising an ethical foreign policy. Ten years later, Blair leaves office mired in blood and sleaze. Blair's devotion to BAE's interests will not be forgotten. His decision to curtail the BAE corruption inquiry is likely to become a classic case study of political interference in a criminal investigation."
CAAT called on Tony Blair's successor to reopen the inquiry and to end the Government's political and financial support for the arms trade.ENDS
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. On 14th December 2006, the Serious Fraud Office and the Government announced that they were suspending an investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in its arms deals with Saudi Arabia. CAAT and the Corner House have lodged grounds for a judicial review of this decision.
3. The arms industry in the UK is subsidised by the Government with over £850million of public money every year.
4. The former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote in his diaries that "I never once knew Number 10 come up with any decision that would be unaccommodating to British Aerospace [as BAE was then known]".
5. CAAT spokespeople are available for interview on Blair's legacy and on the arms trade generally.
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