Number 10 bans World Development Movement from G20 summit at last minute
Minutes ago, the World Development Movement learnt that its accreditation, as part of the Put People First alliance, to enter the G20 summit has been revoked. The reason is unclear but a member of the accreditation team told the World Development Movement that the decision came after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had received a note from 'Number 10' to decline the organisation's director, Benedict Southworth's accreditation.
Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement said:
"I am outraged that we have apparently been banned at last minute from attending the G20 summit. We hope it's not what it appears to be – an attempt to stage manage events and prevent voices of dissent and disagreement from being heard.
"The only other government in the world that has banned the World Development Movement from attending a global summit is the Singapore government which has a track record of stifling voices of opposition. A ban that was subsequently overturned after protests from around the world.
"On Saturday, I was part of the Put People First delegation that met with Ed Miliband, Gareth Thomas and Steven Simms at 'Number 11'. On behalf of my members and the people who we work with around the world, I will be demanding to know why this ludicrous decision has been made."
Update: A second anti-poverty group, War on Want has also been banned at last minute, Benedict Southworth continued:
"The last minute banning of two anti-poverty campaigning groups that traditionally take a strong line against the government’s free trade agenda is outrageous. If it was one organisation, it could be dismissed as an administrative cock-up, but the banning of two starts to reek of the deliberate exclusion of critical voices. We are absolutely livid.”
UPDATE: FCO respond:
An FCO spokesperson has responded:
'We have not "banned" anyone from attending the summit. We have been inundated with applications and simply do not have the capacity to allow everyone to attend.
We welcome the interest that the summit has generated and trust all organisations will be united in their desire for a successful outcome.'
Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement said in response to the FCO’s statement:
“I received my accreditation to enter the summit last week. We were then told last night that Number 10 had sent a note to the Foreign Office to withdraw my accreditation. Although we have tried to find out why this has happened, we have had no direct response from either 10 Downing Street or the Foreign Office. While I am relieved at the assurances that I have seen that it was not politically motivated, they need to explain why if this was an issue of capacity, why it’s the two organisations which have a track record of being outspoken about the government’s policies on trade and poverty whose accreditation has been withdrawn at the last minute.”
For more information, please call:
Press officer, World Development Movement
0207 820 4900/4913, 07711 875 345, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org