BAE Systems under new attack as arms protesters target AGM

Campaigners vow 'a few surprises' will be waiting for the defence giant's board and investors at its annual meeting this week

Campaigners fighting to shut down the global arms trade have vowed there will be "a few surprises" waiting for BAE Systems' board and investors at the defence giant's annual meeting this week.

Last year, the Campaign Against Arms Trade hijacked BAE's AGM at its offices in Farnborough, Hampshire. More than 30 campaigners secured the right to attend the meeting and ask the board difficult questions by buying a small number of shares in BAE.

But their chants and songs – such as adapting DJ Otzi's Hey! Baby to include the lyrics "I wanna know why you profit from death" – got under the skin of then-chairman Sir Dick Olver and he evicted many of them. City grandee Sir Roger Carr has since succeeded Sir Dick but can expect a similarly torrid time from campaigners furious that BAE allegedly sells fighter jets to repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Sir Roger has previously had little to do with the defence sector, having made his name in a variety of other industries, but campaigners want to hear his views on "the morality of arms deals".

A campaign spokesman told The Independent there would "some visual stunts" on Wednesday. He added: "We are interested to see if Carr will bring any differences in emphasis or outlook from his predecessors and are likely to ask questions relating to Prince Charles' visit to Saudi Arabia, which coincided with BAE getting an agreed price on Eurofighter jets."

Prince Charles was accused by campaigners of being "used by the UK government and BAE Systems as an arms dealer" when he visited in February. BAE announced the next day the conclusion of negotiations over the price for 72 Typhoon fighters. His representatives insisted he did not discuss the contract with the country's royal family or politicians.

The campaign spokesman added: "Other questions we are likely to ask are about what ethical considerations BAE makes before selling weapons to repressive regimes. Is there anything these regimes could do to their own people that would make BAE stop selling them weapons? Would BAE be prepared to do business with a country like Syria if the embargo was to be lifted?"

A source close to BAE said the company realised people have "strong views" but the issue was how these were conveyed at meetings that are meant to be for investors who want a greater insight into its financial prospects.

A BAE spokesman said: "The AGM is the one time shareholders have the opportunity to hear from the board and ask questions about the business and we welcome all those who want to do that in a way that is courteous to other shareholders."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory