Government should scrap ExCeL arms fair, says London MEP

MEP Jean Lambert wants the government to scrap the arms fair

MEP Jean Lambert wants the government to scrap the arms fair - Credit: Archant

London MEP Jean Lambert has called for an end to the “disgraceful” arms fair due to open in Newham.

She is calling on the government to scrap the biennial arms exhibition called Defence & Security Equipment International which will be held over four days at the ExCeL centre in Custom House from September 10.

A week of protests have been planned by the action group Stop the Arms Fair, a coalition of campaigns who are calling for the end of arms fairs in London and across the globe. The fair, which takes every two years, offers the world’s arms manufacturers a chance to showcase and sell the latest in military technology.

Jean Lambert said: “At a time when governments across the globe are debating how we can best stop the ongoing bloodshed in Syria it stinks of hypocrisy for Britain to play host to a mass show-off of weapons and arms – weapons that could end up being used against civilians in the Middle East. This government wants to be seen as pro-active in intervening to stop bloody regimes and terrorist insurgency across the globe. One way it can do that is to stop facilitating the world trade in weapons which it is allowing to happen on its own doorstep.

“I fully support the nonviolent actions that Stop the Arms Fair are taking this week and would encourage anyone who wants to see real steps taken towards a more peaceful world to join with them in their protests. By continuing to flaunt military arms in its own capital, any words of censure this government directs against regimes seeking to develop their military capabilities will continue to fall on stony ground. The government’s support for this Fair is totally untenable and completely unacceptable”.

Action planned this year includes a demonstration on Monday against drones and a candlelit vigil on the eve of the exhibition opening outside Royal Victor DLR in Tidal Basin Road.