Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop said today (8th November 2011) that the revelation that Sports and Culture Minister, Jeremy Hunt, had lashed out almost £750,000 on Olympic tickets for Ministers, top civil servants and guests “was an insult to an area which has seen the closure of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, and which could have been saved by his department.”
Tom said “what makes this worse is that they’ve not bought cheap seats either. The Department of Culture, Media and Sports have bagged over 400 tickets to the beach volleyball on Horse Guard’s Parade, overlooked by many Whitehall departments where they could have had a free view, at a total cost of £14,295. They have also scooped up 226 tickets and a further 1,020 passes for the popular biking events. In addition, 140 tickets were bought for the opening ceremony and £33,085 has been spent on the track and field sessions being held at the main Olympic Stadium.”
“This is an insult to areas like Middlesbrough which are seeing cultural and sporting facilities under threat, and where the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum has already had to shut its doors for the winter, amongst fears it may never re-open. It is also an insult to the many thousands of genuine sports enthusiasts who have applied for Olympic tickets but have been rejected in the over subscribed draw. It seems there is one rule for the Government fat cats and their hangers on, and another rule for the rest of us.”
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (7th November 2011) called on local schools in East Cleveland to turn and cheer on the Olympic Torch as it passed through local villages next June.
Tom said “This is a once in a lifetime event for East Cleveland. The 2012 Olympics are the first in Britain since 1948, and it may well be another 66 years before it comes back to this country.”
“I am told by the London Olympic Organising Committee that the Torch will be carried through the streets of East Cleveland as part of a leg from Middlesbrough and Redcar down to Whitby. It will be carried by runners through Saltburn, Brotton, Carlin How, Loftus and Easington on Monday 18th June.”
“I hope this is something everyone can enjoy, and I would hope the schools on the route will allow their pupils out of the classroom for a couple of hours for the ceremony, as, after all, it will be something those pupils can tell their own children about later in their life.”
“It will put East Cleveland on the world map in a true sense as part of a global transfer of the Olympic flame from Beijing to Britain via Brotton!”
“It will be a fantastic day for the whole area and our children must be there.”
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today revealed by a Parliamentary Question that over 300 direct letters had been sent to the Government to ask them to step in and help Middlesbrough Council keep the Captain Cook Museum in Marton’s Stewart Park.
Tom said “I put a question to Culture Ministers and they have now said that they have had 362 direct approaches on this matter. But then they went on to say it was totally ‘a Middlesbrough Council matter’ – which misses the point that these letters were sent to Culture Ministers in the hope they would help, given the national significance of the museum and of its collection.”
“Instead of shrugging this matter off, Ministers should do the decent thing and offer to see how they and their Culture Ministry Civil Servants can help Middlesbrough directly. It seems that our Culture Ministers are only interested in places like the Royal Opera House or Glyndebourne – and not anything a long way out of their south eastern comfort zone.