In September 2021, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s largest arms fair, is scheduled to return to London. At DSEI, weapons and military technology will be marketed to representatives of repressive states fueling racism and injustice.
Using an action set up by PSC and CAAT, thousands of you wrote to the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, and Green candidates, asking them to commit to do everything in their power to stop DSEI.
Published below are the responses received from the Labour Party, Green Party and Liberal Democrat candidates. So far, no reply has been received from Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party candidate.
Sadiq Khan (Labour Party)
In his manifesto, he stated “I’ll continue to urge others to share our values, and to follow us in taking determined action on the climate emergency. Where things don’t fit our values, I will call them out. This includes the DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) arms fair, which has no place in London, and I’ll explore all possible options to end it being hosted in the city.””
Sian Berry (Green Party)
“Thank you so much for getting in touch with me and the Greens in London about this.
I completely share your views on the Arms Fair, and I hope you will vote for more Greens on the London Assembly and a record Green vote for Mayor to send a strong message that this matters.
I have always been a fierce opponent of the DSEI arms fair. I have attended and spoken at many protests and have supported Green Party colleagues who have faced arrest and legal action for their actions in protest at the event (and was very pleased when they were exonerated).
In the London Assembly, I have asked questions to the current Mayor each year about opposing the fair and recovering the cost of policing. You can see my work at this link, which searches the MQT database:
While the current Mayor states his opposition, I believe we need a Mayor of London who will take a stronger stance and be more active in preventing this horrific trade in weapons of violence, oppression, torture, and violations of human rights from occurring within our city.”
I am happy to commit to all the actions you have proposed, and I hope you’ll vote Green for Mayor and Assembly on 6 May.”
Luisa Porritt (Liberal Democrats)
The Liberal Democrats believe that the United Kingdom has a responsibility to ensure that arms produced in our country don’t end up in the hands of regimes which will use them to violate the human rights of individuals. As liberals, we place the upmost importance on the protection of human rights across the world.
That is why last year we called for the United Kingdom to prohibit the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia because of the regime’s violation of humans rights in Yemen.
We understand your concern over the DSEI event and will now respond to each of the commitments you ask:
To Publicly state that DSEI is unwelcome in the city and runs counter to the values of City Hall
London is a liberal city and Londoners strongly believe that we must do everything in our power to protect humans rights across the world. If elected in May, Luisa would publicly state that London doesn’t welcome the DSEI and it runs counter to London’s values.
To Use the Mayor’s discretion to recover the costs of policing the event from DSEI’s organisers.
Yes, for the reasons given above.
To Commit to do everything in your power to stop DSEI from returning to London.
The Mayor doesn’t have direct power to prevent a private exhibition fair that is DSEI from being hosted in London. However, the Mayor could and should encourage the London Excel Centre not to host the event as it runs against the values of our city. If the Excel Centre continues to host DSEI events then the Mayor could also stop the use of the Excel Centre for any events organised by the Greater London Authority. This would mean that the Excel Centre wouldn’t receive public funds for events held on behalf of the Greater London Authority.”