National Lottery Licence

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 2000.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 12:00 am, 11th December 2000

What the timetable is for awarding the next licence to run the national lottery. [141885]

Photo of Mr Chris Smith Mr Chris Smith Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The award of the next licence to run the national lottery is a matter for the National Lottery Commission. The commission expects to announce the outcome of the bidding process for the new licence later in the month.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, given that the previous Conservative Government successfully set up the national lottery, it would be a tragedy if this incompetent, rotten Labour Government were to kill it? Will he assure the House that, if the contractor should change, the national lottery would not be suspended, even for a short while?

Photo of Mr Chris Smith Mr Chris Smith Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

No, I do not agree with the assumptions on which the hon. Gentleman's question is based. Yes, I can give him the assurance that he seeks.

Photo of Peter Ainsworth Peter Ainsworth Conservative, East Surrey

Does the Secretary of State now regret how warmly he welcomed the original and unlawful decision to kick Camelot out of the competition? If anyone can sort out this mess, I suppose it is Lord Burns. Is not the fact that the award of this important contract is now six months late yet another unsightly scratch on the Secretary of State's increasingly battered Teflon coating? Will he take this opportunity to reflect on a year in which he has messed up the national lottery, messed up Wembley stadium, and wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on the dome? Will he now say, "I'm sorry. It's my fault. I'm just not up to the job."?