London Mayor Sadiq Khan has ‘nothing further’ to add following his initial outburst calling for Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) to leave London.
In September, the politician, motivated by complaints from protestors outside DSEI, wrote to the organiser calling for an end to the event in London and that they cover the additional costs for policing the event.
Mayor Khan, now appears keen to ‘draw a line’ under his outburst, following a balanced reply by DSEI event director Grant Burgham.
Burgham, whose event increased visitor numbers by three per cent, despite protestors outside, told Mayor Khan: “I would also wish to stress that we fully respect the right to lawful protest, and each year we provide safe areas for protests to take place at DSEI within the ExCeL site. The costs of policing of those protest activities and events organised by third parties in public and other spaces near the ExCeL campus both during and in the week preceding DSEI are the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police, as would be the case with any other public protest.
“The Mayor told EN that he has ‘nothing further’ to say in response to DSEI’s letter or whether or not his view has changed since receiving comprehensive information about the event from its organisers.
In addition, the Mayor’s silence
supports a widespread industry view that his protestations were merely ‘political rhetoric’ and he has since ‘eaten his words’, or had his wrists slapped by higher powers or both.
One industry stalwart commented: “This could happen to any of us. There’s a likelihood of protestors at other events in controversial sectors such as fashion, oil and gas, plus farming so the Mayor should be more informed on the benefits to the local economy.”
A spokesman for Clarion also added: “DSEI pays for 100 percent of the cost of the event’s security and policing, and always has done. This includes the attendance on site of Ministry of Defence Police, who have a specific responsibility for protecting British military personnel and equipment. Their costs are paid for in full by DSEI. DSEI does not require the attendance of the Metropolitan Police on site.
A number of protest groups have been running their own events outside of the ExCeL campus, throughout the week (as has been done during previous editions) immediately preceding DSEI. It is the Metropolitan Police’s decision alone as to whether they attend and what level of resourcing is required to police these events. It is worth noting that these protests cover a wide number of political issues, such as Brexit and climate change, and the Met has a statutory responsibility to police them, as they would with any other public protest.”
Jeremy Rees, CEO of ExCel London commented: “The world-leading events staged in the UK are a catalyst for economic growth, driving billions of pounds of import and export activity. ExCeL London plays its part by hosting over 400 events a year bringing together four million people and 40,000 exhibitors, from across the world. Events at ExCeL support 37,600 jobs and contribute £4.5 billion to London’s economy, as well as drive 50 percent of London’s ICCA-rated delegates. We are committed to ensuring our voices are heard across local and national Government, to communicate the positive economic and social impact that events deliver and to maintain the UK’s reputation as a globally recognised events destination.”