2016 02 – Military Lobying

The ADS Annual Dinner

by Dick Barry

Every year a number of Parliamentarians attend the Annual Dinner hosted by ADS (aerospace, defence, security, space), as guests of defence or defence related companies. This year the dinner will be held on 2 February. At the time of writing (20 January) no details of those who will attend were available. Last year the dinner was held on 3 February and ADS published the list of Parliamentarians in attendance: 42 MPs and 2 Members of the House of Lords. The list included 9 MPs who lost their seats at the 2015 general election and 5 who retired. Of the remaining 27 MPs who attended and are still sitting in the House of Commons, 16 were Conservative, 10 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat (Nick Clegg).

Ten months later, on 2 December the House of Commons voted to bomb Syria. Of the 27 still sitting MPs who attended the ADS dinner earlier in the year, 21 (15 Conservative, 5 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat, Nick Clegg) voted for the bombing of Syria and 6 (5 Labour and 1 Conservative, Julian Lewis) voted against. The Labour Members, who voted for bombing, with the constituency and guest company named, were: Margaret Beckett (Derby South)(Rolls Royce), Vernon Coaker (Gedling)(ADS), Kevan Jones (North Durham)(Marshall ADG), John Spellar (Warley)(GKN), and John Woodcock (Barrow-in-Furness)(BAE). Those who voted against bombing were: Ivan Lewis (Bury South)(Airbus), Ian Lucas (Wrexham)(Finmeccanica), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)(Finmeccanica), Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)(ADS), Owen Smith (Pontypridd)(Airbus).

Kevan Jones a supporter of Trident resigned as shadow defence minister (his boss Maria Eagle was moved from shadow defence secretary to shadow culture secretary) in protest at the appointment of Emily Thornberry as shadow defence secretary. Thornberry opposes the UK’s so-called independent nuclear deterrent. Vernon Coaker who voted for the bombing of Syria remains in the shadow cabinet as shadow Northern Ireland secretary. Owen Smith who voted against the bombing stays as shadow welsh secretary.

Note: The ADS website says that “ADS supports the defence sector’s contribution to the UK’s economic health by shaping the market, generating business development and providing network opportunities in support of our UK member companies. Through our ongoing work to promote a UK Industrial Strategy, ADS supports and works with the UK MoD, the Home Office, the FCO, UKTI DSO and the Security Services, helping member companies to grow and export. The Defence Team at ADS also provides a number of specialist services (such as advice on export licensing, commercial issues, offsets, international trafficking in arms regulations and the EU Defence & Security Directive).”

The Companies

All information is taken from the company websites.

Airbus: a global aircraft manufacturer, including military aircraft, with its headquarters in Toulouse, France.

BAE Systems: design, manufacture, upgrade, and support combat and trainer aircraft, combat vehicles, and provide ammunition, precision munitions, artillery systems and missile launches to a global customer base. It is also a leading supplier of cyber intelligence and security capabilities. BAE employs some 83,400 people in over 40 countries, including Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, UK, and USA. Its headquarters are in London, UK.

Finmeccanica: a world-class advanced engineering company in the UK. It is committed to delivering winning, cost-effective solutions in the aerospace, defence, security, cyber and space sectors. Finmeccanica in the UK and all its operating companies are supporters of the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, demonstrating their pledge to the Armed Forces Community.

GKN: a global engineering group. Its aerospace section is a first tier supplier with industry-leading capabilities in aerostructures, engine systems, wiring, transparencies, ice-protection systems, landing gear and MRO and servicing.

Marshall ADG: the largest independent aerospace and defence company, delivering innovation and excellence in engineering support solutions and services. It employs around 2,000 workers at its Cambridge Airport headquarters. It also has offices at Abbotsford and Ottawa, Canada, and Leiden, Netherlands. In December 2015 a £369m contract to support the RAF’s fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft was awarded by the MoD.

Rolls Royce: designs, develops, manufactures and services integrated power systems for use in the air, on land and at sea. It is one of the world’s leading producers of aero engines for large civil aircraft and corporate jets. It is the second largest provider of defence aero engines and services in the world. For land and sea markets, reciprocating engines and systems from Rolls-Royce are in marine, distributed energy, oil & gas, rail and off-highway vehicle applications. In nuclear, Rolls-Royce have a strong instrumentation, product and services capability in both civil power and submarine propulsion. It has customers in over 150 countries including: Bahrain, China, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and USA.