HC Deb 01 December 2003 vol 415 cc9-10W
Mr. Hawkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to arrange celebrations for the victorious England Rugby World Cup team and squad. [140592]

Tessa Jowell

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) have always, quite rightly, been in the lead on the nature and the timing of the World Cup victory celebrations, and the RFU picked the date of Monday 8 December for the parade and receptions. Both the Government and the Royal Household have been happy to be guided by the RFU on these matters. The RFU did not want to pick a weekend date because the rugby players have professional obligations to play for their clubs.

The RFU is also planning a series of celebratory occasions around the country, so that people can see the Webb Ellis Cup and meet members of the winning England team rather than the whole country having to come to London on December 8.

Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many rugby matches(a) the Secretary of State and (b) the Minister for Sport attended in an official capacity since their respective appointments. [141068]

Mr. Caborn

My right hon Friend the Secretary of State has attended two matches: England v Wales at Twickenham in March 2002, and Australia v England in Sydney, November 2003. I have attended eight matches: Bradford v Wigan at Old Trafford in October 2001, Great Britain v Australia at Huddersfield in November 2001, Sheffield Eagles Tag Rugby Festival in Sheffield, December 2001, St. Helens v Wigan at Murrayfield, April 2002, New Zealand v Fiji in Manchester, August 2002, Australia v New Zealand and England v France in Sydney, November 2003 and Great Britain v Australia at Wigan, November 2003, along with a number of local rugby union matches involving Sheffield Club and Rotherham.