Congratulations to Guido Fawkes for posting something worthy of note…
Whilst a frontbench spokesman for defence under Michael Howard, Howarth was slammed in 2004 for providing a weapons lobbyist with a one of his allocated parliamentary staff passes. Michael Wood of lobbyists Whitehall Advisers (whose clients included BAE Systems and Airbus) who are the backbone of the UK’s billion pound arms industry. Like Caroline Spelman and her farming interests, David Cameron seemingly does not consider Howarth’s past connections to be an issue. Howarth has been made the parliamentary Under Secretary for Defence. He now has a direct role in arms procurement.
Howarth’s devotion to the weapon’s trade is almost touching in its fervour. When the Guardian published a special report, shedding light on corruption in the deals between BAE and the government of Saudi Arabia, Howarth accused it of being a “communist newspaper” which “ha[d] it in” for the company. According to him, the trade “demonstrat[ed] the enduring relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UK“, and attacks upon the former’s human rights abuses were “serious[ly] insulting” and “irresponsible“. While we might disagree with him, it’s hard not to empathise: ’tis, indeed, an unhappy thing when no one sees the goodness in the object of your love.
With Howarth joining the new Secretary for Defence, Liam Fox – a man who said, at a BAE-sponsored debate, that he “do[es]n’t think we support our defence industry enough” – it looks very much as if a passionate clinch is only going to get queasier.