Bedford Borough Council has defended the warm welcome it has given a new business in the Borough, despite accusations from Green Party councillors that the firm develops nuclear weapons.
US-owned Leidos has opened a new facility on the Bedford Link business park and Mayor Dave Hodgson mentioned the company in his monthly Bedford Independent column, offering the multi-national defence, aviation and IT company a warm welcome.
However, Bedford’s Green Party councillors have reacted with shock, alleging that the company provides ‘expertise in nuclear weapons research and development’.
Councillor Lucy Bywater (Castle ward, Green) said: “As Greens, we absolutely welcome it when quality jobs come to Bedford as that’s what local people deserve, good examples being renewable energy and health.
“But the council actively celebrating a firm whose business includes developing nuclear weapons is just wrong.
“Is this the sort of high-value business we should be welcoming?”
Cllr Ben Foley added: “This is about weapons of mass destruction, and in January nuclear weapons effectively became illegal in international law.”
Responding to the comments from the Green councillors, a Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said: “The Leidos facility at Bedford Link specialises in automation and airport security, not weaponry.”
Leidos declined to add anything to the statement from the Council, but did ask the Bedford Independent to clarify that, contrary to published comments made by Green Party councillor, Ben Foley, they are not owned by Lockheed Martin.