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Defence giant BAE Systems has beaten a tactical retreat from its sponsorship of the Great Exhibition of the North, a three-month long celebration of north east inventors, artists and designers, after several participants threatened to walk away in protest at its involvement.

In an all-out attack, singer songwriter Nadine Shah and former Chumbawamba member Boff Whalley threatened to withdraw from the event in ‘disgust’ at BAE’s participation.

In a statement, BAE confirmed that it would continue to offer moral support for the aims behind the Great Exhibition, writing: "While BAE Systems remains supportive of the aims of the Great Exhibition we have decided to redirect our support to other initiatives better suited to both our skills and innovation objectives and in support of the industrial strategy of the north of England."

BAE has been the source of several negative headlines surrounding the sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, fueling its ongoing war with Yemen.