This year’s Labour party conference will have fringe events sponsored by a spyware firm and arms manufacturers heavily involved in nuclear weapons production, prompting calls from CND and other peace campaigners to keep these industries out of politics. 

Open Democracy reported that Boeing, Babcock International, and Palantir, will join fossil fuels firms, private healthcare companies, and banks as sponsors at the conference, which takes place in Liverpool this October. Many of the fringe events will be hosted by The New Statesman Media Group. 

Boeing, one of the largest US arms companies, manufactures the land-based Minutemen Intercontinental Ballistic Missile for the US Air Force. The UK-based Babcock, which operates the Devonport dockyard in Plymouth, has been involved in designing components for and maintaining Britain’s nuclear-armed fleet for over 50 years. 

Babcock’s fringe event title “Sovereign capability: How can we make, buy and sell British?”, will have the firm’s chief corporate affairs officer, John Howie on the panel. He’ll be joined by members of Labour’s shadow cabinet, Nina Griffith, its shadow international trade minister, and shadow minister for defence procurement Chris Evans. 

Meanwhile, spyware company Palantir, will sponsor an event on the war in Ukraine titled “How can we hold aggressors accountable for war crimes and deter future conflict?” and will include a senior official from the company on the panel. As Open Democracy notes: “Palantir, which has built software to support drone strikes and immigration raids, is tipped to win a £480m deal this year to build a single database that will eventually hold all the data in the NHS.”

Among those to have already questioned the decision to include these companies at the conference are Labour MP Clive Lewis, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and environmental groups. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: 

“It’s disturbing to hear that arms companies, including those involved in UK nuclear weapons production, have been invited to sponsor New Statesman events at this year’s Labour Party conference. Will The New Statesman Media Group be including those opposed to weapons and war at these events?”

Image Credit: BAE Systems