EUROPE – A member of parliament has branded a trade show “shameful”.
Caroline Lucas, the country’s only Green MP, said the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition at London’s Excel centre has defied the government’s rules on arms deals.
But the organiser of the controversial arms fair, which takes place next week, said it will pour more than £30m into the capital’s economy.
This week activists chained themselves to a military during a week of demonstrations against the arms fair
Caroline Lucas, MP, said: “It’s shameful that Britain continues to host one of the world’s largest arms fair.
“Banned weapons have been repeatedly found to be sold at this arms fair.
“If Britain is to be a force for peace we must stop selling arms to despotic regimes and re-calibrate our economy to be less reliant on this deadly trade.”
A spokesman for DSEI said: “The economic benefit is based primarily on projected and historical accommodation and food and beverage spend data from the 30,000 plus attendees who come to London for the four days of DSEI, as well as for the 5,000 contractor staff who are building stands for our 1,500 exhibiting companies over an extended build up and breakdown period that stretches over several weeks. Plus we’ve factored in the spend on the many satellite functions which will be taking place across London during the week of the show.
“DSEI is the world’s largest land, sea and air defence and security exhibition. The event takes place every two years at London’s Excel centre and plays host to a variety of cutting edge technologies ranging from defence systems and equipment designed for British forces, through to equipment that will be used by first responders to natural disasters around the world.
“Ministers from across the UK Government will attend DSEI, meeting British companies and underscoring the important role the defence and security sector plays in the UK. DSEI provides an effective platform for this sector, which has a turnover of over £30 billion and employs 233,400 people directly and over 145,000 people indirectly.”