Dundee coun­cil leader blasts Tory MP’s ‘in­ter­ven­tion’ in bid

Cap­i­tal of cul­ture: Frus­tra­tion over the lack of in­for­ma­tion

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - Paul­ma­lik pa­ma­lik@the­courier.co.uk

The UK short­list for Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture 2023 was to have been an­nounced this morn­ing.

Dundee’s chances of be­ing named were all but ended a week ago fol­low­ing a let­ter from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to the UK Govern­ment in­form­ing them that be­cause of dif­fi­cul­ties sur­round­ing Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, no Bri­tish en­trants were el­i­gi­ble.

There has been lit­tle in­for­ma­tion come for­ward since the Com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sion.

The di­rec­tor of Leisure and Cul­ture Dundee, Ste­wart Mur­doch, had trav­elled to Lon­don this week as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Dundee 2023 team, it is un­der­stood, to meet with the sec­re­tary of state for the de­part­ment of dig­i­tal, cul­ture, me­dia and sport (DCMS) Karen Bradley MP. Mr Mur­doch was un­der­stood to have been joined by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the other cities with Ms Bradley, but the out­comes of th­ese dis­cus­sions is not yet known.

Fur­ther to this, a meet­ing be­tween Con­ser­va­tive An­gus MP Kirstene Hair and Ms Bradley took place in West­min­ster.

Dundee City Coun­cil SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion leader John Alexan­der, took ex­cep­tion to Ms Hair’s “in­ter­ven­tion”, say­ing: “This re­sponse from Kirstene Hair is un­for­tu­nate and un­help­ful.”

He added: “Firstly, if Ms Hair is act­ing on be­half of our bid in con­tact­ing the UK Govern­ment, I would have been grate­ful if she had been in con­tact with us first.

“A press re­lease which crit­i­cises and is pur­port­edly act­ing on our be­half without prior dis­cus­sion or the de­cency of con­tact seems to be more about a PR op­por­tu­nity and less about the bid.

“If Ms Hair had read any of my re­sponses or en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion, she’d re­alise that our at­ti­tude is very much about fo­cus­ing on a way for­ward.

“I don’t think the tax­pay­ers of Dundee would share her at­ti­tude to­wards the ex­pense in­curred. I think it’s per­fectly rea­son­able for all of the cities to seek re­im­burse­ment.”

Pic­ture: Mhairi Edwards.

The UK short­list would have been an­nounced to­day.

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