St Paul's drops sponsor linked to arms

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The Independent Online
St Paul's Cathedral pulled out of a sponsorship deal with a firm involved in the arms trade yesterday, after coming under heavy criticism.

The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral said plans for support from Lockheed Martin Tactical Systems (UK) Limited, first revealed by the Independent on Sunday, would be refused after consideration of "ethical questions". New sponsorship will be sought for the Choir School Foundation Concert on 8 July.

A statement issued said: "This sponsorship had been received in the first instance because the company had operated under various names in the UK for more than half a century and has business alliances today with more than 80 British companies. They are engaged in the UK on a wide range of commercial activities including telecommunications, air and road traffic control, postal systems and video entertainment, as well as essential defence contracts. The Chapter's discussion of this issue centred on ethical questions which have still to be fully addressed by both Church and Nation."

Rachel Harford, of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: "The outrage and shock from ordinary churchgoers that met the initial decision to allow the sponsorship was a demonstration of the growing tide of rejection towards arms exporting companies".

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