In the late 70s, Robin Cook was a massive anti-arms activist. Before Labour were elected, he was criticising the Tories for selling fighter jets/weapons to Indonesia who'd use them to terrorise East Timor. Of course, as soon as Labour came into power, and he was Foreign Secretary, they approved over 60 arms contracts with Indonesia, who were still massacring the East Timorese.
From what I gather Robin Cook continued to strongly oppose to the exportation of BAE jets to the Indonesian Suharto regime after becoming foreign secretary, and made his feelings clear. However his attempts to block the sale were scuppered by Blair, Brown and Jack Straw. 50% of Labour's 1997 election expenses had been paid for by a BAE director.
Some source material:
I was one of a few enthusiasts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who welcomed the arrival of Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary and his declaration of an “Ethical foreign policy”. The majority were hostile and cynical, but not nearly so much as was Tony Blair.
Within a very few weeks, Blair arranged Robin Cook’s defeat at Cabinet when Cook wanted to stop the export of British Aerospace Hawk jets to the Suharto regime of Indonesia, which has a strong history of vicious repression of its disparate peoples. I was told by a Cabinet Minister who sided with Cook, that Blair managed Cook’s cabinet defeat in as confrontational and humiliating a manner as possible.
Plainly there would be no ethical foreign policy under Blair, and “New Labour” would be even snugger in bed with the arms industry than the old version. One of Blair’s lead men on Hawks to Indonesia was Jack Straw, who declared in the register of members’ interests that 50% of his election expenses had been paid by Lord Taylor, a Director of British Aerospace.
Cook was later to say that:
"I came to learn that the chairman of BAE appeared to have the key to the garden door to No 10. Certainly I never knew No 10 to come up with any decision that would be incommoding to BAE."
In the early stages of Blair's tenure as PM it appeared that Cook was the only cabinet minister who was brave enough to openly disagree with and question him, unlike Brown and Straw who were his stooges during his first term. There was clearly a strained relationship between the two, and it was no surprise that Cook was demoted to Leader of the Commons during the 2001 cabinet reshuffle. Cook clearly refused to sulk and took up his new role with the same enthusiasm and tireless effort, and from the back benches he continued to strongly oppose Blair on a number of issues.