AN anti-nukes SNP politician has come under fire for “cosying up” to arms firms linked with the Israeli bombardment of Gaza – despite his forceful calls for a ceasefire.

SNP foreign affairs spokesperson Brendan O’Hara last week attended a Westminster reception organised by the ADS Group – which represents arms companies, many with direct links with the Israeli military.

His attendance, first reported in the UK Defence Journal, comes despite his repeated calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

A similar event has been organised for the Scottish Parliament later this month but is currently without a sponsor, after Labour MSP Paul Sweeney pulled out as its backer when challenged by The Ferret earlier this week.

Also present at the event was the arms companies Lockheed Martin, which makes the F-35 jets used by Israel to bomb Gaza and RTX.

A Dutch court this week blocked the export of F-35 parts being exported from the Netherlands, citing concerns they were fuelling alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

RTX owns the company Raytheon, which has a factory in Glenrothes, and its international operations have involved helping to bolster Israel’s “iron dome” defence system which is used to block missiles launched into the country.

The National:

Yvonne Ridley, the women’s convener of the Alba Party (above), claimed O’Hara’s presence at the event was the latest in a number of events which she argued have seen the SNP embracing the military.

She said: “A short time ago the SNP released a new defence paper that moved towards a multilateral approach to disarmament and away from the longstanding unilateral approach of the national movement.

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“We also had two SNP MPs dressed in military fatigues playing toy soldiers on a foreign trip. This latest cosying up to the arms industry should be called out.

“If we wish to act as if we live in the early days of a better nation then that should not involve running cap and hand to the British military complex.”

At the event, anti-nuclear campaigner O’Hara was pictured speaking with a young woman in a Babcock branded fleece.

The National: Faslane

The National understands O’Hara attended the event to support a 16-year-old constituent of his who works for Babcock – the main contractor at the Faslane nuclear base in his Argyll and Bute constituency.

Ridley added that the Yes Scotland slogan “Bairns Not Bombs” had been one of the “galvanising messages of the independence movement in the run up the 2014 referendum”. 

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She said: “Of course, that slogan was about so much more than nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

“It was a totem for the widespread opposition in Scotland to Westminster’s foreign military interventions: whether the million innocent civilians killed in Iraq because of the arrogance and war crimes of Tony Blair; the devastation of Libya and the destabilisation of the region; or the current atrocities in Gaza which the UK Government has sat back and watched in fear that a peaceful settlement will upset all of their friends in the wrong places.”

A spokesperson for the Stop the War campaign group said: “Wars are fought by big powers and it is big business that benefits, with ordinary people always the victims.”

Speaking in December, O’Hara urged the UK Government to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying: “By failing to stand up for innocent lives the UK has shown a shameful lack of international leadership – and chosen to be on the wrong side of history.”

An ADS Group spokesperson said: “Our sectors are vital contributors to Scottish prosperity and security. We are dedicated to supporting industry, civil society and our armed forces in navigating an increasingly challenging geopolitical environment.

“Scotland boasts a thriving advanced manufacturing ecosystem, with very clear routes to highly paid roles in our aerospace and space sectors in particular.

“The aerospace, space, security and defence sectors, with a turnover of more than £7 billion, contributed £3.2bn in value add to the Scottish economy in 2022. 

"In 2022, the ADS sectors directly employed 33,500 people in Scotland, including 1,500 apprentices. With £95,000 output per worker, sector productivity in Scotland is 47% higher than the economy average.”

The SNP and Babcock declined to comment.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin were approached for comment.