Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab): I add my congratulations to those of all my colleagues on this successful bid. Will my right hon. Friend congratulate Transitions, the contemporary dance company from my constituency, which performed in Singapore this week? It was part of our triumph. I also ask him to ensure that London's diverse performing arts community is fully engaged and involved in the preparations for the games.

Mr. Straw: I am delighted to congratulate Transitions; its activity and the depth of diversity in London was another reason why we won this bid. We could honestly say that there was not a single country in the world participating in the bid that did not have residents in London who were able to turn up, as a ready-made part of the crowd, to cheer them on. I should also—as I meant to do earlier—thank the London schoolchildren who went to Singapore, who added to the strength and attraction of our bid.

Simon Hughes (North Southwark and Bermondsey) (LD): My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park (Susan Kramer) and I have particular reason to want to pass on our congratulations to the Mayor of London, whose vision for the east end has enjoyed cross-party
6 Jul 2005 : Column 412
support, and to which we subscribe. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that one outcome of the result of this bid should be not only greater diversity in London by 2012, but greater social equality? As has been mentioned, may every school have a sports coach, so that every youngster has the opportunities that tonight they may be dreaming of?

Mr. Straw: I am sure that my right hon. Friends will consider the last suggestion. The hon. Gentleman knows Stratford, in the east end; I know it, too. This regeneration will itself lever up opportunities, and in doing so it will help to bring the equality of opportunity, and of living standards, that we all want.

Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh, North and Leith) (Lab/Co-op): I am pleased to tell the Foreign Secretary that businesses in my constituency have already won contracts for the preparatory work resulting from this bid, which shows how the entire country can get economic, as well as sporting, benefits from the games. May I urge my right hon. Friend to make certain that the organisers continue with the good work of ensuring that the entire country derives benefits from this successful bid? I should point out that Edinburgh has a lot of experience in hosting big events, particularly recently. May I also urge him to ensure that bringing these wider benefits to the entire country is one of the Government's priorities in building on today's wonderful news?

Mr. Straw: Yes.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): May I echo the congratulations offered to Lord Coe and his team, and thank the Foreign Secretary for recognising the cross-party support that has always existed for the bid? He will doubtless agree that one key element of our success was the Government's total commitment to the bid—from the very top—along with that of the Opposition. But does he also agree that the hard work is only just beginning, and that a successful games will require the continuing commitment of all Ministers and, indeed, of all parties in this House?

Mr. Straw: There has been a lot of hard work to get this far by everybody concerned and by all parties. But yes, we now have a real responsibility—a very heavy obligation—to ensure that the undertakings that we gave to the International Olympic Committee and to the people of Britain are delivered on. That will involve even harder work than we have undertaken until now—by Government, by Opposition, by everybody. We have got to do it.

Harry Cohen (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): I can disclose that I ran with Seb Coe—for a vote, when he was a Member of this House. Will the Secretary of State convey my congratulations to Seb Coe and his team, and to everybody involved in this successful bid? Will the Government ensure that the resources flow into east London without delay? We must keep control of construction costs, and in doing so it is important that we do not leave the work until the last minute. Also, will the Government give an early commitment that this will
6 Jul 2005 : Column 413
be an Olympics for the many, not the few, and that ticket prices will be reasonable for east London residents and, indeed, for all UK residents?

Mr. Straw: Some of the funding arrangements have already been announced. Indeed, some of them had to be made clear to the IOC; had they not been, we would have had no chance in the bid. I could read them out, but I will not as doing so would detain the House. However, the one thing that I cannot do—my hon. Friend would not expect me to—is anticipate decisions that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have to take in future spending rounds.

Mrs. Jacqui Lait (Beckenham) (Con): May I add my congratulations to the bid team? I assure the Foreign Secretary that I shall certainly remember where I was when the announcement was made because I was able to slip away to Trafalgar square, and it was a stunning and wonderful moment.

Will the Foreign Secretary ensure that the strong financial management with which the bid team secured our success will be applied, to the benefit of the UK and of Londoners in particular, to the legacies that will ensue in terms of sport, culture and transport?

Mr. Straw: Yes, we must ensure that that happens, otherwise we will not deliver either the games or the legacy. It is absolutely essential that we deliver both.

Meg Hillier (Hackney, South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op): I want to add my congratulations to the bid team, and I especially welcome the facilities that will be built at Hackney Wick in my constituency. Hackney has waited a very long time for the major transport improvements that will be in place by 2012. Will my right hon. Friend raise with other Ministers the matters highlighted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford)? He spoke about the future employment opportunities for young people in his constituency, and the need to provide skills training for them. Will my right hon. Friend consider making the London games a real people's games by developing a mutual company, in which citizens of this country can buy shares and so fully take part in the Olympic spirit?

Mr. Straw: I shall certainly ask Lord Coe to consider my hon. Friend's final suggestion, although it assumes that the Olympic committee will make a profit. I do not have a briefing to that effect, but if she knows something that I do not, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor would like to hear from her.

I agree with her on the other points that she made. There have been many plans for improving transport in Hackney. On the whole, they have not been delivered, but at last they will be.

Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): On behalf of the Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru, I warmly welcome the news, and congratulate London on its successful bid. [Interruption.] As a London-born Scottish Nationalist MP, I speak on behalf of all my colleagues. I join in commending the IOC, Lord Coe and the bid organisers on their efforts, as well as the Government. Will the Foreign Secretary look closely at
6 Jul 2005 : Column 414
lottery and other funding streams to ensure that the London Olympics are the success that they should be, and that other parts of the country will not lose out?

Mr. Straw: The hon. Gentleman has made the very important admission that he was born in London. The parliamentary guide says only that he was born. [Laughter.] It gives his date of birth, but skims over the precise location very quickly. It states simply that he was educated at Broughton high school in Edinburgh. However, I think that the hon. Gentleman's revealing admission merits a wider audience among Scottish voters. He is a Londoner with a Scots accent.

I am very grateful for the approbation of the Scottish Nationalists and Plaid Cymru. As I have said, we will certainly do our best to ensure that the benefits of the Olympics, in the lead-up to the games and beyond, are shared across the UK.

Tom Levitt (High Peak) (Lab): Buxton community school is already established as a sports specialist school, and the St. Philip Howard school in Glossop will take on that status from October. Other colleagues have mentioned that the specialist schools present a framework on which excellence in the British team in 2012 can be built. However, they also noted that we must build on that framework soon. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we cannot wait and start building our Olympic team in five years' time, as the members of that team are in our schools today?

Next Section IndexHome Page