HC Deb 15 May 2003 vol 405 cc477-88 1.21 pm
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell)

May I begin by saying how seriously I take the remarks that you, Mr. Speaker, have just made? I apologise to you and I want to assure the House that no discourtesy was intended. As the Opposition spokesman will make clear, as a matter of courtesy I took the trouble to ring him at 8 o'clock this morning and, about an hour ago, I spent some time taking him through what I was going to say. I similarly informed the Liberal Democrat spokesman.

That said and placed on the record, the purpose of my statement is to inform the House that, following discussion in the Cabinet today, the Government have decided to give their wholehearted backing to a bid to host the Olympic games and the Paralympics in London in 2012. This morning, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister telephoned Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, to inform him of our decision. He has told Mr. Rogge that the Government will back to the hilt the efforts of the British Olympic Association, to which I wish to pay tribute, alongside the Greater London Authority, the London development agency and others—[Interruption.]—and, of course, the Mayor as part of the apparatus of the Greater London Authority.

The bid will be a huge stimulus for elite sport. Lottery investment in our athletes helped us to our best medal haul for decades at Sydney. A London bid will allow us to build on that and to raise standards and aspirations even higher. But our Olympic bid will also rest on our growing commitment to grassroots sport. It will be central to our efforts to increase physical activity, and identify, nurture and develop talent in our young and up-and-coming athletes.

We want to harness the power of sport to inspire people and to address some of the key issues that our nation faces—health, social inclusion, educational motivation and fighting crime. We want to spread the benefits all around the country—promoting tourism and business for the whole of the UK, staging a four-year cultural festival, investing in community sports facilities to offer to the visiting teams to prepare and train here, holding football competitions as part of the games, and staging some other events outside London.

I warmly welcome the pledge from all parties to support the bid. Such cross-party support is important, because it gives us the best chance of winning and of making the games a resounding success. I have previously set out for the House four tests, that an Olympic bid would have to meet before the Government could give it their backing. The tests were: can we afford it? Can we win? Can we deliver a strong bid and high quality games? What legacy would the games leave behind? We have spent the last few months applying those tests rigorously.

I believe, on the basis of rigorous scrutiny, that a London bid passes those tests on every count. I would like to take the House briefly through each one. First, the cost. We estimate the cost of bidding will be about £17 million. Business, the London development agency and the Government will bear that cost. If we win the bid, the cost of the Olympics should be borne, at least in part, by those who will benefit most. I have therefore agreed with the Mayor of London a funding package of £2.375 billion, which includes a 50 per cent. contingency. Of that, £875 million will be borne by London through a £20 increase in council tax for band D properties and a contribution of £250 million from the London development agency. But the biggest contribution comes from the lottery. Contributions from the existing sport lottery and a new Olympic lottery game would raise an estimated £1.5 billion. We will review the package in 2005 in the light of what by then will be firmer and more detailed estimates of the costs of staging the games.

The next test is whether we can win. Other confirmed bidders to date include New York, Leipzig, Madrid and Havana. No doubt others will emerge in the coming weeks. It is a strong field, but London has many advantages over the other cities, and our bid will be the equal of any. The third test is whether a bid could really be delivered. As the jointly commissioned Arup report shows, we can deliver a high quality and competitive bid based around an Olympic zone in the Lea valley.

The last test is the legacy. The games will bring great benefits to London. The economy and tourism will benefit. The lower Lea valley will benefit from new facilities and regeneration. So the work starts now. I am perfectly realistic about the work involved and the risks that lie ahead. I know that public opinion will ebb and flow in favour of the project. We will set up a dedicated organisation to develop and market the bid, with the very best people from both the public and private sectors, and with strong leadership. The bid team will act at arm's length from the Government, but we will pull out all the stops to bring the Olympic games to London.

Staging the Olympic games in 2012 is a prize well worth the fight, and 2012 is also the diamond jubilee year of Her Majesty the Queen. We are bidding because we believe that it will be good for sport, but it will also be good for London, and good for the whole of the United Kingdom. It is a declaration that we are proud of our country and confident of our ability.

London is bidding for the Olympic games. We believe that it should host the greatest games on earth. We now have two years to prove to the world that we deserve to be given that chance.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford)

I do not wish to dwell on the previous exchange, but I can confirm that the Secretary of State rang me at 12 o'clock and I thank her for that courtesy. She will also recall that I did at that time ask for a copy of the statement.

I wish to move on to the content of the statement. First, I wish to make it clear that we welcome the Government's decision to support a London bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Indeed, we have been calling for it for a long time. We strongly believe that a London Olympic games will bring incalculable benefits to this country in terms of investment, tourism, regeneration and, most of all, to British sport.

The Secretary of State will be aware that we were originally promised a decision by the end of last year, but that it has been repeatedly postponed. Of course, we understand why that was necessary, but does she agree that, to avoid any impression that the Government are half-hearted in their intent, every member of the Government, starting at the very top, needs to give the bid full and enthusiastic backing from now until the day that the decision is made?

Does the right hon. Lady also agree that one lesson of our failure to win a World cup bid is that we need a high-profile figure to lead the bid and tour the world to make the case for London? When does she expect to announce that appointment? Why does she appear to have rejected the strong recommendation of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that a Minister, located at the heart of Government, should have overall responsibility for co-ordinating the bid? Has not the absence of such a Minister plagued other projects and will it not make it harder to achieve the cross-departmental co-ordination and agreement that will be vital for a successful games?

Does the Secretary of State accept that, if the bid is to be credible and command public support, it must be seen to have been fully costed and that, as far as possible, a thorough risk assessment has been made? So far, even the original Arup report has not been published in full. Instead, we have merely seen what the Select Committee described as an anaemic 12-page summary. Will she undertake to make available the full costings for the bid, including a breakdown both of the necessary expenditure and of the income that a successful games is likely to generate?

We shall want to study in detail the proposals for how the costs of the games will be met, but we support the principle of using the national lottery to meet at least a part of those costs. The Secretary of State will be aware, however, that the lottery is badly tarnished and its income is falling. It thus becomes all the more important that she act quickly to restore public trust. Will she tell us what estimate she has made of how much of the money from the lottery will be taken from the amount that would otherwise have gone to the original good causes? Will the Government consider reducing that impact by giving up the share of the proceeds from a special Olympics game that they would otherwise take in tax?

Does the Secretary of State agree that not only London but the whole UK will benefit from the Olympic games being held in the city? The burden should not, therefore, fall exclusively on Londoners. We shall want to study carefully the detail of her proposal for a council tax precept and how that figure was arrived at, but will she immediately tell us how long the £20 council tax increase will last? Does she accept that it is only fair that those who have the most to gain from a London Olympics should make the greatest contribution to the cost? Will she tell us how she expects to justify a council tax supplement for those living in boroughs on the other side of London from the Lea valley, who will receive nothing like the same benefit? Does she agree that it would be unacceptable for the Olympics to be used as an excuse for further tax increases for either London's hard-pressed businesses or its residents, and that any additional liability must rest with the Treasury?

Does the Secretary of State agree that if a bid is to be successful, we must demonstrate that the necessary improvements in the transport infrastructure will be in place? Does she think that that should include the upgrade of the London underground, a new Thames crossing and, above all, Crossrail? If so, can she explain why, only two days ago, the Secretary of State for Transport was still unable to give a decision on whether Crossrail will go ahead? Will he make it his first priority to take a decision on those vital questions so that we can put an end to the uncertainty?

Will the right hon. Lady say more about what the Government intend should be the legacy of the games? By then, London will already have a brand new stadium at Wembley. Is it the intention that, after the games, there will be two major stadiums in London, one of which will be exclusively for athletics, or will another purpose be found for it?

If our bid is successful, the games will come to London in nine years' time. By then, we could be in the second term of the next Conservative Government. The Secretary of State has accepted that the attitude of the Opposition is an important factor for the credibility of a bid. Earlier this year, she said that she would consider our suggestion for a cross-party ministerial group. Is she willing to establish such a body or, if not, what mechanism does she propose to set up to ensure that all parties can participate fully in the preparations for a bid?

It has taken a long time for us to get off the starting blocks, but the Conservatives are delighted that the Government have finally committed to a bid. We look forward to working with them and the British Olympic Association over the coming months to maximise the chances of its success.

Tessa Jowell

Having listened carefully to the hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford (Mr. Whittingdale) saying that he is in favour of the bid and supports it, I wonder what his questions would have been if he had been against it. I have never heard 12 such sceptical questions. He even finds it difficult to take himself seriously when he talks about the prospect of a Conservative Government.

I shall deal first with the question about timing. The hon. Gentleman shows some ignorance of the Olympic process. It is clear that Paris took longer than London to decide whether to announce its bid. When the president of the International Olympic Committee spoke to the Prime Minister this morning, he commended the Government on the rigour of our approach and said that he could not fault it. We have made a decision based on all the necessary and available evidence.

The hon. Gentleman asked when we would appoint the bid chair. There is urgency about that. He and the House should be reassured that work continued to proceed during the period when we were considering the case for a bid, and I hope that it will be possible to make an announcement about the key appointment of the bid chair in the next few weeks, and certainly before the end of June.

It is important to remind the hon. Gentleman that, first, the proposal has been fully costed and, secondly, that it has been subject to preliminary analysis by the Office of Government Commerce to assess risk. He received a briefing on the Arup costs from my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sport.

Instead of carping and talking down the national lottery, I wish that the Opposition would talk up the lottery as the Government do. There is a difference between public money and the public's money. The public's money is lottery money, which will come from people living all over the country, inspired by the prospect of the Olympic dream.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the impact on good causes. We have taken that analysis very seriously indeed. The figures show that between now and 2009, there is likely to be an attrition of 4 per cent. to other good causes through the introduction of a new dedicated lottery game. That impact is validated by the National Lottery Commission. For the three years between 2009 until the games, the impact could be greater—up to 11 or 12 per cent. All the decisions are subject to review, depending on the performance of the lottery and so forth, because all the assessments have been made at the prudent end. The council tax precept will run for 25 years, on the basis that borrowing extends to £625 million.

On transport, we have always made it clear that a decision to bid for and host the Olympics is not dependent on Crossrail. As the Secretary of State for Transport would say, if he were in the Chamber, even if Crossrail got the go-ahead tomorrow it would not be ready in time for 2012.

On the legacy, we are absolutely determined that an Olympic stadium will not become a white elephant, as other Olympic stadiums have. That is why, as the hon. Gentleman must be aware, we have already begun discussions about a potential anchor tenant.

I hope that I have done justice to the hon. Gentleman's questions and that we can count on the unequivocal, unswerving support of his party, because that will substantially reinforce and strengthen the chances of our winning in 2005.

Mr. Gareth Thomas (Harrow, West)

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on an excellent statement and pay tribute to her thoroughness in the promotion of a bid. I believe that our bid will be stronger for the time that we have taken to prepare for the statement today.

Does my right hon. Friend accept that among the issues that must be at the heart of the bid team's work from now on is how an Olympic bid can be used to drive up participation in sport; to improve our sports facilities, many of which, especially in London, need renewal and refurbishment; and to develop our most talented athletes to be medal winners in 2012? If an all-party group of Back-Bench Members were formed to explore those and the other challenges facing the bid team, would she be willing to work with it?

Tessa Jowell

I thank my hon. Friend for his contribution and pay tribute to his advocacy and that of other hon. Friends in continuing to make the case for a London bid. It is an essential justification of a London bid that bidding for the Olympics is part of, not apart from, the Government's wider strategy for engaging more people in sport and identifying talent at an earlier stage. Earlier this week, I announced our new programme of talent scholarships, which will make financial support available to thousands of our most talented young athletes, who, without that extra money and support, would be denied the opportunity to reach their real potential. I would be delighted to work closely with an all-party group to support the Olympics and discuss with Opposition parties how to maintain understanding, consensus and a sense of working together to drive forward to deliver the bid.

Nick Harvey (North Devon)

I wholeheartedly welcome the statement and the Government's decision to back an Olympic bid. A London Olympics will be good for British sport at every level, good for London, putting it at the centre of the world stage, and good for the whole country.

The Secretary of State says that the bid team will operate at arm's length from Government, but may we be reassured that there will not be too much distance between the two? The success of the Manchester games has shown that we can put on a very good show, but there is a credibility gap to be filled following the world athletics championships saga. Does she accept that, although the Prime Minister's involvement in the 2006 World cup bid was entirely positive, it transpired at the voting stage that other Heads of State had been massively more involved? We should learn a lesson from that.

On funding, what assessment has the Secretary of State made of the impact on the other lottery good causes if there is a new game for the Olympics? May we be reassured that, if the lottery does not yield the anticipated sums or if the costs overrun, the Government will be fully behind the bid in a financial sense as well?

The Secretary of State says that the bid is not contingent on Crossrail being completed. Can she explain how, as my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) has been asking, we shall get the spectators out to the new facilities without Crossrail?

Finally, on the legacy, does the Secretary of State accept that some of the most successful games have had some of the least advantageous legacies, and that Government will need to be involved completely, from the word go, to ensure a legacy for London and the country of the best possible quality?

Tessa Jowell

I thank the hon. Gentleman and his party for their support for the London bid. We intend to implement a very clear structure for running the bid, at arm's length from Government but with accountability to what will be described as a public funders panel, on which I, the BOA and the Mayor will sit. I am the responsible Minister in Government and in Cabinet and I will report personally on progress to the Prime Minister.

We have been very mindful of the problems that have arisen for large events in the past. We have learned the lessons of the Commonwealth games, not only about what went wrong at an early stage but also about why they were such a success and did so much for Manchester. The focus on social inclusion, the nearly 10,000 volunteers and the participation of people throughout the north-west are a real inspiration for London to try to emulate.

The hon. Gentleman raised the concern about transport. It is important for hon. Members to know that a detailed transport plan is being developed with the Department for Transport. Money has been allocated. Substantial money is already going into the improvement in London's transport, but those who have signed off the transport proposals are confident that they are sufficient to move people around London during the games, and there is not now and never has been any suggestion at all that transport capacity for London during the period of the games is contingent on Crossrail. Stratford station will be expanded to enable it to handle 60,000 people an hour, Bromley-by-Bow station will be substantially rebuilt, and a range of specific improvements will be made to ensure proper management of transport.

Finally, I accept the hon. Gentleman's point—it is a serious lesson—that we must address the legacy now, which is why we have emphasised the importance of ensuring that the stadium that will be the centre of the world during the Olympic games also has a useful life afterwards and that we do not have a stadium that, as Sydney has found, is a constant drain on the public finances.

Mr. Barry Gardiner (Brent, North)

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the fairness with which she and colleagues in her Department have approached the bid. Does she agree that, although the immediate benefits of hosting the games in London may be for the people of London, in fact it is the children who are now in years 7 and 8 in schools in Aberdeen, South, in Glasgow, Pollok and in Cardiff, Central who will be winning Britain the gold medals at those games, and that if those games are truly to have a legacy that is spread throughout the country, we must press ahead with the programme for school sports co-ordinators, and with getting coaching into schools, to get those young people the expertise that they need to become our gold medallists in 2012?

Tessa Jowell

I could not agree more. This morning, I spoke to two of our Olympic athletes, Matthew Pinsent and Paula Radcliffe, whose personal advocacy for the games has been incredibly persuasive. Of course they, as role models and great icons for our young athletes, understand precisely the importance of my hon. Friend's point.

Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South)

I give my unequivocal and unswerving support, and congratulate the Secretary of State on piloting the whole process this far. I welcome her reference to the Paralympics, whose United Kingdom branch is based in Croydon, and which is often forgotten in such circumstances.

May I probe on the question of cost overrun? The right hon. Lady said that the precept will last for 25 years in London. If there is a cost overrun, will that precept be extended or will the overrun be underwritten by other sources?

Tessa Jowell

The funding package that I have announced today, to which the Mayor is also a signatory, includes within it, based on the Arup figures, a contingency of at least £1.1 billion, so there is a very substantial contingency. In 2005, when we know whether we have won, we will obviously take stock of the costs in the light of what will by then be greater certainty about the figures. At that point, we will judge whether further contingency provisions need to be made and whether further provision that will go back to the original funders will be needed to protect the taxpayer's position, but at this stage, beyond saying that we have recognised the need for that further examination, it is not particularly constructive or useful to go into more detail because the figures may change in the interim.

Ms Bridget Prentice (Lewisham, East)

I am delighted by my right hon. Friend's statement today; it shows confidence and pride in London that we should all appreciate and share. The whole country should appreciate the benefits that will come to London in terms of not just sport but tourism and regeneration. Will she perhaps expand on her statement to reassure people elsewhere in the country that they, too, will benefit whether from events during the games, or in economic and other terms thereafter?

Tessa Jowell

I thank my hon. Friend, who has been a constant advocate for the games and recognises the economic and other benefits that will come to her constituency as a result of our decision today. We made as careful an assessment as we could at this stage of the wider benefits, and it is worth noting that all the regional development agencies have expressed their support on the ground of the benefits to their regions of the games hosted in London produced by inward investment driven by tourism. It is essential that we see that as one of the important measures by which we judge the success of the games. Of course the way in which we spread the benefit is by our continued investment in grassroots sport and in sport for children in school, to build the opportunities for the champions of tomorrow. As my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) remarked, we hope that children from Inverness to Truro will have the opportunity to compete when the time comes.

Miss Julie Kirkbride (Bromsgrove)

Like all other hon. Members who have spoken today, I congratulate the Secretary of State and the Government on having the courage and the vision to take forward the Olympic bid in what could be a fantastic year to celebrate Her Majesty's jubilee if we were to be successful. The Secretary of State will face scepticism from some of the public, not least in regions such as mine, where people still do not quite understand why the bid has to be based on London. I understand that it needs to be London, but will she tell the House why it needs to be London and spell out the prospective benefits for people in the other regions, who will feel disappointed?

Tessa Jowell

I have considerable sympathy with the hon. Lady's view. Of course, we did not rush to take a decision that London should be the bidding city without looking at the case for the alternative, but the simple fact is that the British Olympic Association advised us that the only way that we would stand a chance of winning would be to bid for London. That is why we are bidding for London—we are absolutely determined to do everything that we can to win.

Roger Casale (Wimbledon)

I welcome the statement and the exciting prospect of the Olympics coming to London. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if we are to win the wholehearted support of Londoners—and, indeed, of people across the country—for the bid, we must create as many opportunities as possible for people to engage with the bid's preparation, advance their own ideas and contribute their experience both to improve the bid and to identify how they could benefit if it is successful? With that in mind, may I remind my right hon. Friend that, although we no longer have football in south-west London, at least not in my constituency, we have experience of tennis and other sports? We in south London as a whole will consider—this has sometimes not been the case in the Mayor's considerations—how we can benefit, in particular, by improving the transport infrastructure if the bid is successful.

Tessa Jowell

I thank my hon. Friend, and hope that when the bid team is appointed and gets under way, precisely the imagination that he describes will be applied to ensuring that the Olympics means something to people throughout the country, not just in London, and to people of all ages as well.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath)

I too unequivocally welcome the announcement that the Secretary of State has made today. She knows that I have been a passionate advocate for an Olympic bid. Does she recognise that there will be particular pleasure in my constituency because, as she will know, there is only one venue in the UK that was used for the 1948 Olympics that will be used in 2012? That venue is Bisley, for shooting, which straddles the boundary between my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Malins). Will she be happy to work with all members of the all-party sports group, of which I have the honour to be deputy chairman? Of course our chairman, Lord Pendry, sits in the upper House, so he is not with us today. Does she agree that all hon. Members from whichever party have to recognise that far more of our constituents care about sport than about politics and that the bid should be a unifying force? I passionately hope that we win it.

Tessa Jowell

I thank the hon. Gentleman, and I certainly agree that in any vote sport would have it over politics with all our constituents. Bisley was an extremely successful location for shooting during the Commonwealth games. Clearly, his constituents will look forward with excitement to the possibility of being part of the Olympic facilities.

Jim Dowd (Lewisham, West)

May I enter a more sceptical note than seems to have been the case so far? May I tell the Secretary of State that I am persuadable on the matter, but at the moment, I am not sure that this is a wise move, and many of my constituents share that view? Given that Greater London Authority ratepayers have experienced a 30 per cent. increase this year alone, may I ask her about the £20, 25-year fund? Can she clarify whether it will start at £20 and remain like that over the 25 years, or whether it will start at £20 and end up with a much higher figure? Can she confirm that the total exposure if the bid is unsuccessful will be £17 million, which she identified, and will she say how that figure will be broken down and who will pay for it? What proportion of that £17 million will be allocated to the entertainment, wining and dining, inducements and downright bribery that have been the hallmark of Olympic bids?

Tessa Jowell

My hon. Friend is consistent in his scepticism, and I hope very much that we will prove him wrong during the months and years ahead. I think that he will take heart from the fact that there has been overwhelming support not just from people in London, but from people throughout the country. The results of the opinion polling that my Department undertook as part of the preparation for the bid were extraordinarily consistent. He refers to the costs of bidding. Those costs will be shared between the public sector and the private sector. The cost identified is up to £30 million, half of which we expect to come from the private sector and half of which will come from apportionment between the London Development Agency and my Department. There will be some acceleration in the built facilities, and we expect that work will start on an Olympic pool at Stratford ahead of a decision on whether we have won. That is an important legacy point because that part of London needs an Olympic-sized pool. I hope that that is one bit of evidence to show how the principle of ensuring a good legacy informs decisions even at this early stage.

Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)

Ministers know that I am 100 per cent. enthusiastic and committed to the bid, and if I have the privilege of being elected Mayor of London next year, I will give the Government my full support and co-operation, and make sure that we do not just win the bid, but go on to have a brilliant Olympics. In addition to the funding proposals that the Secretary of State has set out, which work out at £500 per band D household in London—not an excessive amount over 20 years—can she tell us whether, if we win the bid, the Government will reconsider whether they should put something into the kitty? At the moment, there is money in the kitty only for the bid, not for the Olympics. What is the legacy for transport, housing and jobs? As a London Member of Parliament, she knows that improvements to those will be to the benefit of London for a generation or more, and to the benefit of the country for a generation or more, too.

Tessa Jowell

I thank the hon. Gentleman. Clearly, the support for the Olympic bid will be a rare moment of consensus in the forthcoming mayoral campaign. Let me address his specific points about transport, housing and jobs. On transport, I have already identified the way in which transport infrastructure will be improved: specifically, the extension of Stratford station and the rebuilding of Bromley-by-Bow station, to ensure that they have the necessary capacity. There will be more improvements: the upgrading of certain rail links, the upgrading of motorway links and so forth. A programme has therefore been identified and costed.

On housing, the Olympic village will have accommodation for 4,000 people. After the Olympics, that will become housing for people moving into the regenerated Thames gateway. On jobs, the estimate is that the Olympics will generate in the region of 10,000 jobs between now and 2012–13. Not all of them will be permanent long-term jobs, but that is a huge boost for employment in east London.

Andrew Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

Will my right hon. Friend accept that given the corruption in the Olympic movement, the problems of drugs in some of the sports involved, and the overheating of much of the London economy, many people are not very pleased with her announcements today? Will she give a guarantee to the House that it will be paid for by the people of London, and will not be paid for at the expense of transport links, regeneration links and sport facilities in the English regions?

Tessa Jowell

In relation to my hon. Friend's point about the International Olympic Committee and its past reputation, we must recognise that that is in the past. Its reputation suffered seriously, and Jacques Rogge, the new president of the IOC, has taken vigorous and rigorous steps in rewriting the rules to ensure that corruption, wherever it is identified, is not part of the Olympic system. Tight rules are being drawn up, and it is important that we recognise that progress. On his second point, yes, London will pay a major part of the cost of the Olympics, but the lottery will do so too. That is important because of our ambition and aim that the Olympics should belong to the whole United Kingdom and not just to London.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)

Despite my natural disappointment that the west midlands has not been chosen, the right hon. Lady is right to choose London. The experience of the Manchester bid showed that, unfortunately, the bids have to be based on cities that other delegates, from other parts of the world, recognise. That is unfortunate but true. She was wrong, however, to chastise my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford (Mr. Whittingdale) for asking about the details of costing, because the devil is in the detail. We know from the dome that while it was a good idea, costs spiralled out of control. We would therefore welcome more detail in the near future. In that respect, as the right hon. Lady recognises that the legacy is important, when will the detailed transport plan be published? That is important, given the transport difficulties in Atlanta and Sydney.

Tessa Jowell

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is so in touch with reality that he realises that the choice must be London not Lichfield. In relation to the steps that we have taken on costings, even at this stage—let us remember that we are talking about costings that will be realised in nine years' time—my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and I have visited six previous or prospective Olympic capitals precisely to make a proper assessment of what running an Olympics costs. Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, has commended the exemplary approach of the Government in preparing to make this decision.

Alan Keen (Feltham and Heston)

I was lucky to have been taken to see the 1948 Olympic games, when Herne Hill was the site for the cycle track events and Windsor Great Park for the road race. It inspired me to pursue a lifetime of active sport. Although I do not usually mention politics and sport in the same sentence, I was so inspired this morning by the shadow Secretary of State's optimism that he would be in the second term of a Tory Government in 2012 that I am going straight home to get my bike out. Whatever important position he holds in 2012, I hope that he will present me with a gold medal for the 1,000 m sprint. Let us hope that this is the last time that we mix sport and politics. Let us all work together to make sure that we win the bid and host a wonderful games.

Tessa Jowell

I thank my hon. Friend for that characteristically generous contribution.