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Latitude Festival cuts ties with sponsor Barclays after acts pull out | Ents & Arts News

Latitude Festival has dropped its sponsor, Barclays, after a number of musicians and comedians dropped out in protest over the bank’s ties to the Israel-Hamas war.

Latitude Festival told Sky News: “Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of Latitude Festival”.

Comedians Joanne McNally, Sophie Duker, Grace Campbell, and Alexandra Haddow all announced they would be boycotting the event last week.

Musicians including CMAT, Pillow Queens, Mui Zyu, and Georgia Ruth had also pulled out of the event.

Palestine Action, a group whose members attacked 20 of the bank branches across England and Scotland last week, has accused Barclays of having financial interests in both Israel’s weapons trade and fossil fuels.

Barclays says while it provides financial services to “public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies” it does not directly invest in the firms.

Pic: Palestine Action/X
Pic: Palestine Action/X

Taskmaster star McNally, who had been set to close the festival wrote in an Instagram story last week: “I’m getting messages today about me performing at Latitude when it’s being sponsored by Barclays.

“I’m not longer doing Latitude. I was due to close the comedy tent on the Sunday night, but I pulled out last week.

“I’m on the old artwork but I haven’t been listed on the site since I pulled out a week ago.”

Duker had shared a photo of her at a previous Latitude Festival, and confirmed she would be boycotting the event.

She wrote: “I am committed to minimising my complicity in what I consider to be a pattern of abhorrent, unlawful violence”.

The 34-year-old comedian also said her pro-Palestinian stance “has gained me violent abuse, targeted pile-ons and death threats”.

Fellow comedian Grace Campbell, who is the daughter of Sir Tony Blair’s former spokesman Alastair Campbell, shared Duker’s post in an Instagram story, announcing she was also pulling out of the festival.

Meanwhile, comedian Alexandra Haddow said she too would no longer appear, writing on Instagram: “I can’t in good conscience take the fee.”

In a post shared on her Instagram account last week, Irish singer-songwriter CMAT said: “I will not allow my precious work, my music, which I love so much, to get into bed with violence.”

Barclays has been approached for a comment.

In response to the exodus of acts, Barclays previously defended its position, saying it recognised “the profound human suffering” caused by the Israel-Hamas war.

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“We provide vital financial services to US, UK, and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies,” it said in a statement.

“Barclays does not directly invest in these companies. The defence sector is fundamental to our national security and the UK government has been clear that supporting defence companies is compatible with ESG considerations.

“Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.”

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Suffolk, held from the 25-29 July.

Rishi Sunak’s speech shows cosy UK-China ties since David Cameron’s pint with Xi Jinping are ‘beer today, gone tomorrow’ | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has called last orders on the UK government’s cosy relationship with China.

The UK needs to “evolve our approach” to China, he declared at the sumptuous Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall in the City of London.

The so-called “golden era” is over, he said, “along with the naive idea that trade would lead to social and political reform”.

Naive? That sounded like a pretty scathing attack on David Cameron and George Osborne. It was Mr Cameron, after all, who took President Xi to a country pub near Chequers during a state visit in 2015.

Not long after the two leaders supped pints in The Plough at Cadsden in Buckinghamshire the pub was bought by a Chinese firm. Presumably not what Mr Cameron had in mind for boosting UK-Chinese trade.

Prime Minister David Cameron drinks a pint with Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough Inn at Cadsden in Princes Risborough
Prime Minister David Cameron drinks a pint with Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough Inn at Cadsden in Princes Risborough

A bitter irony, one might say.

The term “golden era” was actually used by Mr Osborne during a visit to China in 2015, when he claimed the UK was China’s best partner in the West.

Four prime ministers later – in just seven years – Mr Sunak lambasted the Chinese in his Guildhall speech. He condemned the assault of BBC journalist Ed Lawrence and said the media and MPs must be able to highlight the crackdowns without sanction.

BBC journalist Ed Lawrence arrested during protests in Shanghai
BBC journalist Ed Lawrence arrested during protests in Shanghai

That included calling out abuses in Xinjiang and the curtailment of freedom in Hong Kong, he added.

But it wasn’t just Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne who were derided by the current Prime Minister.

His rejection of “grand rhetoric” in favour of “pragmatism” could only have been directed at one ex-PM: Boris Johnson.

When he was London mayor, Mr Johnson visited China in 2013. But by the time he became PM relations had soured because of highly alarming security concerns

Xu Weiping, center right, Chairman of ABP, Boris Johnson, center left, Major of London, pose for photos during the announcement of setting up ABPs global headquarters in London, Britain, 16 September 2013.
Xu Weiping, center right, Chairman of ABP, Boris Johnson, center left, Major of London, pose for photos in September 2013.

In the current hostile climate, there’s no chance of Mr Sunak following Mr Cameron’s example by taking President Xi to a country pub in his Yorkshire Dales constituency. Or visiting China like Mr Osborne and Mr Johnson.

Since the cosy camaraderie of pints in The Plough, the relationship between the UK and China has become a case of beer today, gone tomorrow.