in the back
Making a killing in the arms trade
Revolving Doors, Issue 1430
ADDING to the weight of evidence against the revolving door between Whitehall and big business comes some impressive research from the Campaign against the Arms Trade (CAAT) into contacts between the makers of the weapons and the Ministry of Defence bosses who buy them.

Since 2010, CAAT found, senior MoD officials had 2,563 separate meetings with arms companies. In the 1,511 cases where the data was available, the meetings ran to 1,940 hours (or around 240 working days). If the others were of similar duration, that would be a solid 400 working days of pow-wowing.

By comparing these meetings with information on staff taking jobs in the defence industry, the researchers identified 128 MoD officials who went on to join the arms firms with whom they had dealt while they were in government.

The Lynx effect
In one case examined by the Eye, the MoD’s former top mandarin landed a job with a manufacturer of helicopters his department had bought while he was in charge. Kevin Tebbit was permanent under-secretary to the MoD in 2006 while his department negotiated the purchase of 70 Future Lynx choppers from AgustaWestland for £1bn. He left the MoD the following year to join AgustaWestland’s Italian parent company, Finmeccanica, as chairman, and represented it in at least 10 subsequent meetings with the MoD and with UKTI DSO, the government’s arms sales promotion arm.

In another case Simon Williams, a former director of strategic plans at the MoD, left his post as deputy commandant and senior directing staff at the Royal Navy in 2012 to chair Clarion Defence & Security, the company behind the DSEI arms industry fair and schmoozeathon. Williams wasted no time switching sides; he represented the MoD at a meeting with Clarion in February 2012 and just five months later represented Clarion in meetings with the MoD.

No lobbying
Phil Heard, a former head of air programmes and acting director at the MoD’s Saudi Armed Forces Project, left in November 2012 for a post as programme executive at Raytheon, the UK maker of missiles deployed by the Saudi military in Yemen which also employs the former head of UKTI DSO, Sir Richard Paniguian (see last Eye). In February 2014 Heard had a “catch up” meeting with the MoD. As the meeting fell within the two-year standard ban on lobbying, doubtless he made sure not to lobby his old department.

Chris Bushell, a former director of the Typhoon team at UKTI DSO, left the department in April 2012. Five months later he became vice-president of international collaborative programmes at Selex Galileo, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. He was present in at least two recorded meetings with Finmeccanica while at UKTI DSO, in 2010 and in 2011. When he attended the ADS arms industry dinner in January 2013, while working for Selex, he had the good fortune to sit on the same table as UKTI DSO man Simon Harris. Again, no lobbying will have occurred, of course.

More top stories in the latest issue:

Despite the PM’s promises to her party conference, people with unchanging disabilities still face repeat assessments when applying for some benefits.

The high court opens the way for a second inquest into the death of Sean Benton, who died of gunshot wounds at Deepcut barracks in 1995.

A coroner calls for urgent action in ‘unsafe’ mental health units to remove ligature points from which patients might hang themselves.

The independence of the panel set up by Theresa May to look into the unsolved axe murder of private detective Daniel Morgan is called into question.

A mental health patient died from accidental poisoning after she was discharged from a Kent hospital with inadequate psychiatric support, an inquest hears.

HSBC, the Eye’s favourite bank, cashes in handsomely helping to run Saudi Arabia’s first, $17.5bn fundraising effort on the bond markets.

UK development fund CDC still has work to do to clean up its act, judging by goings on at an African palm oil operation in which it invests.

The credibility gap in the Revenue’s latest estimate of the ‘tax gap’ between what it collects and what it should do without tax evasion or avoidance.

The vice-chancellor says sorry for not listening… and for the ensuing ‘crisis’ at the Open University, a one-time national treasure.

To read all these stories in full, get the latest edition of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 8th November 2016.
More From This Issue
In The Shop
Only In The Magazine
Private Eye Issue 1430

ONLY £1.80

8th November 2016
In This Issue private eye

Syrian Child Refugees ‘Not Angelic or Dead Enough’… The Adventures of Mr Greedy (Formerly Sir Greedy)… Vote to Detoxify Ukip Turns Toxic… Is the Guardian Dead, by Zoe Willthisdo… Michael Gover on Why Brexshit Happens… Did Christopher Marlowe Co-Write Dad’s Army? Pensioners Robbed of Chance to Be Ripped Off Again… Government Launches New Inquiry into Old Inquiry… Vivienne Westwood’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Airport expansion: Brexit casts a cloud over Heathrow.
- Out for a duck? The cricket chief on a sticky wicket.
- PLUS: High noon for press regulation; Tory MPs & the Saudis; cartoons galore!

For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.

Private Eye Issue 1429