The British government’s close ties to the arms industry was illustrated this week at a London banquet hosted by the UK’s defence and security companies.
There were 40 MPs on the guest list for a £250-a-head gathering at the Hilton hotel on Park Lane organised by trade organisation ADS, according to information provided by activist group Campaign Against Arms Trade (Caat)
Business Secretary Vince Cable was the most high-profile attendee, and gave a speech at the event.
A spokesperson said he was there to address some of the UK’s major employers, and declined to comment further.
The Independent has contacted other MPs reported to have been in attendance.
Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2 host who will help to lead the organisation’s general election coverage, has come under fire over his speech at the event, for which he received a five-figure fee, with Caat officially complaining that his appearance is “incompatible with the corporation’s values”.
The BBC stated that Vine “is a freelance presenter and so can make personal appearances without speaking on behalf of the BBC”.
But Caat have also taken aim at Westminster, accusing politicians of appearing close to an industry it claims “profits from dictatorships which silence and suppress debate”.
Andrew Smith from Caat said: “It’s outrageous that the government actively supports and promotes this deadly trade.
“The fact that arms dealers were swilling champagne with over 40 MPs is a disgrace and shows the extent of the arms trade’s connections and political lobbying.”
Among the arms companies hosting MPs were Cobham, Raytheon, Thales, BAE Systems and MBDA.
These companies have export and business interests in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Israel, Taiwan and Bahrain.