Channel 4 Relocation — [Sir Graham Brady in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Media) 4:00 pm, 10th May 2018

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham. This is an important debate about one of the most exciting media developments that has happened in the UK in many years. As many others have done, I congratulate my hon. Friend Stewart Malcolm McDonald on securing this debate. I thank all hon. Members for their contributions in this well-informed and highly entertaining debate.

I wonder if hitherto Channel 4 had any idea just how popular it was. There is hardly a nation or region that has not extolled its virtue this afternoon. In many ways, however, this debate is an after-party. As us luvvies would say, we have retired to the green room. Those who were here bright and early this morning will know that the bidding war started at Digital, Culture, Media and Sport questions. No one should be surprised that the first shots in that war were fired by my hon. Friend Deidre Brock, who was of course backing Glasgow’s bid to be the home of Channel 4’s national headquarters. By the end of DCMS questions, supporters from Sheffield, Birmingham and Lichfield had made their pitches too. I believe there were others, but I suspect that many of those were hon. Members who had not a clue what was happening. They had walked into a bidding war and wanted to ensure that their constituency did not miss out on what was on offer.

As anyone will testify, I came to this debate as a fair and honourable man, and with a completely open mind. But having heard so many excellent speeches from hon. Members from different areas across the UK, I have decided to throw my not inconsiderable weight behind the Glasgow bid. Yes, I can see the shock on the faces in front of me, but I have been persuaded by the excellent contributions from my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow South and for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss), and Mr Sweeney. I endorse everything they said. If Channel 4 is seeking a new location, location, location, there is nowhere better suited than Glasgow.

As Stuart Cosgrove, the broadcaster and journalist chairing Glasgow’s bid, said:

“Glasgow is in tune with the values that are at the heart of Channel 4—diversity, equality, innovation with a bit of irreverence thrown in.”

He could have added to that if Channel 4 wants to relocate to a city that already boasts a thriving independent production and freelance sector; a city where both the national Government at Holyrood and local government in George Square are totally committed to supporting the film and television sector; and a city where there is a vast array of creative and cultural talent that is ready, willing and able to get to work, that city is Glasgow.