HC Deb 18 July 1984 vol 64 cc296-7
2. Mr. Strang

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet representatives of the Edinburgh district council to discuss the facilities and arrangements for mounting the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Allan Stewart)

In the course of my recent visit to the headquarters of the Commonwealth Games organisation and several of the venues for the games. I met informally members of Edinburgh district council who are members of the games organising committee. I see no reason to arrange a formal meeting with the district council.

Mr. Strang

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. I am sure he will recognise that the success of the games is important to Edinburgh, and also of great importance to Scotland as a whole.

Now that there is a very good agreement between the games organising committee and the new administration in the district council, will the Government give all the support they can to the games? In particular, can the Minister help in any way to achieve an early solution to the problem of finding a venue for the cycling events?

Mr. Stewart

I entirely agree—and I am sure the whole House will agree—about the importance of the games to Scotland as well as to Edinburgh. I agree with the hon. Gentleman also in expressing delight and pleasure at the agreement with the district council.

I did, as it happens, visit the velodrome. I have no doubt that there are several options, and that Edinburgh district council and the games organisers will reach an acceptable solution.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is enormous enthusiasm for the games in Edinburgh? Is he satisfied with the arrangements for bowling at Balgreen in my constituency? Throughout Scotland those who engage in bowling are extremely interested in having satisfactory arrangements made.

Mr. Stewart

As my hon. Friend will know, there is indeed great enthusiasm, not only among the games organisers, but among a wide range of people who are assisting the organisers in any number of ways. I visited Balgreen and, while I am no expert on bowling facilities, I have no doubt that the facilities there will be excellent.

Mr. Ewing

Talking about games and athletics, and in view of the abysmal failure of the Minister and of his right hon. Friend in Scotland, does the hon. Gentleman think that he will be for the high jump in the autumn?

Mr. Stewart

I doubt whether that question needs a serious answer.

Sir Hector Monro

Will my hon. Friend ensure that the facilities that are required for the games in Edinburgh are of a high standard? As has been rightly said, we look upon them as the games for Scotland. Will he not be put off by those who think that there could be boycotts by certain countries because of contact by other countries with South Africa? In practice, I do not think that that will take place.

Mr. Stewart

I am sure that the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh will be an outstanding success.

Mr. Dalyell

At the main organising committee of the games the week before last, which I attended, as I attended each one before, two problems were expressed. First, can the games be certain that everything will be done to prevent the embarrassment of Rugby Union football tours, which could have a terrible effect on the games at Edinburgh? Secondly, is it not embarrassing that Queensland, British Columbia and the federal Governments of Canada and Australia coughed up quite a lot of money for their games? Cannot the Government at least give a token sum to ours?

Mr. Stewart

As the hon. Gentleman will know, the Government have consistently reiterated their support for the Gleneagles agreement. I am happy to assure the hon. Gentleman that the organisers are confident that they will achieve all the finance that they need. As the hon. Gentleman may be aware, a number of events are being assisted through the Scottish Sports Council.