Socialist Worker

Tory defence minister Gerald Howarth’s links to arms companies

Issue No. 2202

Another day another Tory minister turns out to have strong links to the companies his department makes decisions over.

The new Tory under secretary for defence is the former member of the right wing Monday club Gerald Howarth MP

Howarth once said, “People who decry the defence industry should hang their heads in shame because it is a noble industry”

It is not surprising Howarth thinks this considering his links to the arms dealers. When he was spokesperson for defence under Tory leader Michael Howard, Howarth provided a lobbyist for arms dealers with his allocated parliamentary staff passes.

The lobbyist in question was Michael Wood of lobbyists Whitehall Advisers – whose clients included the corrupt weapons of mass destruction makers BAe Systems

Howarth’s job now involves making decision over arms sales

He is very qualified for the job. Over the years Howarth has declared in his register of members interests the following entries among others:

“26-27 January 2009, to Warton in Lancashire, to visit BAe Systems for a tour of facilities and briefing meetings as Shadow Minister for Defence Equipment and Support. My return flights from London to Warton and one night's accommodation were provided by BAe Systems.”

“4-7 December 2006, to Washington DC, to address a conference on defence. Cost of the air fare and hotel accommodation met by the Hudson Institute. The conference was part sponsored by Fimeccanica. The visit included a visit to Sikorsky Aircraft, with my air transport from Washington Stratford, Connecticut paid by Sikorsky.”

“25 February-1 March 2007, to Washington DC, sponsored by the UK Defence Forum to promote defence technology transfer. Air fare and accommodation paid for by the UK Defence Forum, themselves sponsored by BAe Systems, Rolls Royce, QinetiQ and Smiths Detection.”

When not asking questions in the previous parliament , Howarth found time to book rooms to hold “meetings” and dinners in the House of Commons for Rolls Royce, The UK defence forum, Air Power Association, and many others.

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Thu 20 May 2010, 13:17 BST
Issue No. 2202
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