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Southend is great compared to other "dumps", says MP
8:00am Friday 8th March 2013 in Local News
SOUTHEND’S rivals for the 2017 City of Culture title are “absolute dumps”, according to the town’s MP.
David Amess, the Tory MP for Southend West, launched a stunning attack on the other bidders for the mantle while espousing the highlights of his home town yesterday.
In a rambling radio monologue, Mr Amess said some of Southend’s competitors, which include Plymouth, Portsmouth and Leicester, “wouldn’t know culture if it was put in front of them”.
He said: “I have looked at some of the competition and I don’t want to be horrible to some of my colleagues, but frankly they are absolute dumps some of them.
“I don’t think they would know culture if it was put in front of them.
“I have to be careful what I say because I work with them, but one or two... I better not say more because I’ll get into trouble.
“But I really think it is Southend which jumps out.”
Southend Council chiefs revealed last week they were planning to bid for the City of Culture title, whose inaugural holder, Derry, is celebrating its year in the spotlight at the moment.
The competition was born out of the Labour Government’s desire to capitalise on Liverpool’s success as European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the coalition announced its intention to continue the scheme earlier this year. Southend was one of fourteen cities or urban areas which put their hands up last time, but failed to make the final shortlist of four.
However, Mr Amess claimed the town had been “under-rated and under-used” in the past, pointing out attractions such as the new cultural centre on the pier to support his argument.
He even claimed a successful bid for the title could be enough to bring the Brit Awards, the Baftas and even the Eurovision Song Contest to Southend in future years.
He said: “All the hard work has been done, so it will not cost us much at all. It will be a huge plus and in terms of the business attractions, it would mean so much.
“I can see us in years to come having the Eurovision Song Contest here, and the Brit Awards, and the Baftas.
“In the time I have been in politics, I have learnt there is no point remaining silent.”
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