London Eye

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 13th June 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead 2:30 pm, 13th June 2005

If she will make a statement on the progress of her discussions with the South Bank Centre on the London Eye.

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Negotiations between the London Eye and the South Bank Centre continue, but the London Eye is here to stay. It will continue to give millions of tourists and Londoners pleasure every year, and to enhance London's bid for 2012. I have no doubt that an agreement will be reached on a new lease for the Eye. The clock has stopped while the negotiations continue, and it is of course important that both parties—the South Bank Centre and the London Eye—get it right.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

I am pleased with that answer. Will the Secretary of State acknowledge that the Eye is a landmark of huge importance to London, and that it cannot be jeopardised by unrestrained capitalism? Will she keep a close watching brief on the current lease negotiations for a satisfactory outcome for the Eye, and consider listing it in recognition of its importance? [Interruption.]

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Minister for Sport and Tourism, my right hon. Friend Mr. Caborn, says from a seated position that the Eye will stay as long as the rebate; that is probably a fair prediction. I agree with everything that my hon. Friend said, short of listing the Eye, but I expect the assurances that I have given to be confirmed in negotiations between both sides.

Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Minister (Defence)

The London Eye is undoubtedly one of the United Kingdom's most prominent tourist attractions. Given that the London area attracts the vast majority of overseas tourists and visitors to the south-east of England, can the Secretary of State reassure the House and constituents in Northern Ireland that those who visit the London Eye will also be encouraged to visit other parts of the UK that are far from the London Eye?

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. All the regional development agencies, which have tourism responsibilities, are focused on precisely that objective: encouraging people who visit London also to sample the tourist delights of the rest of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the London Eye is a great tourist attraction and that from the top of it, it will be possible to see spread out before us all the sites relating to the London 2012 bid? Will she pass on my best wishes, from either the bottom or the top of the London Eye, for the bid's progress?