East Lancs MP brands BAE Comic Relief attack 'laughable'

EAST Lancashire MP Nigel Evans has branded criticism of aerospace giant BAE Systems in relation to the Comic Relief charity as ‘absurd’.

The Ribble Valley politician spoke out after the firm, one of the area’s biggest employers with premises in Samlesbury, was named in a BBC investigation.

A Panorama documentary highlighted that Comic Relief had £630,000 in shares in BAE Systems in 2009, despite having a mission statement which talks of a commitment to help ‘people affected by conflict’.

Mr Evans said: “The criticism is unfair. The best thing for Comic Relief to do is invest money where they will get the best return.

“BAE is one of the best companies, offering highly skilled jobs which are well paid. The returns on Comic Relief’s investment could go on providing extra money for the people that need it.

“BAE are not going out to kill people. They make incredibly effective weapons that are bought by countries to defend themselves with.

“It’s ridiculous to brand them as killers. They are more about maintaining peace and democracy.”

Following the programme, on Monday, Comic Relief said it would conduct a ‘full review’ of its investment policy of cash in areas such as tobacco and arms firms through managed funds.

After being told ethical funds had outperformed FTSE 100 companies index over recent periods, chief executive, Kevin Cahill, said: “Our trustees were acting in good faith.”

A spokesman for BAE Systems declined to comment.


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