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

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 4:09 pm on 10th May 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage) 4:09 pm, 10th May 2018

I congratulate Stewart Malcolm McDonald on securing this interesting debate. The message that we should all take away is that we have great cities and towns around the United Kingdom that are all ready to bid for the wonderful opportunity of the relocation of Channel 4’s headquarters and the creative hubs.

The hon. Gentleman reminded us of the connection between the city of Glasgow and Nelson Mandela and, by coincidence, I was in Cardiff on 16 June 1998 when Nelson Mandela received the freedom of the city. The hon. Gentleman also made a strong case for the city of Glasgow, and it was heartening to hear such a full endorsement from the SNP of a pitch process entitled “4 All the UK”. That can only be a welcome development. On a serious note, he rightly highlighted the merits of his city and its wonderful creative sector.

My hon. Friend Richard Burden described Birmingham as both the least and the most disruptive choice for Channel 4 in an imaginative and creative use of language, and made an extremely strong case for his city.

My hon. Friend Mrs Ellman made her pitch for the wonderful city of Liverpool. She described it as the most filmed city outside London, which is a statistic I was not aware of. She did not mention the marvellous Liverpool Everyman Theatre, where my brother, Patrick Brennan, is starring as Iago in “Othello” and as Ben Rumson in “Paint Your Wagon” as part of the Liverpool Everyman rep revival, which has gone so well and had marvellous reviews. Tickets are available from all the usual locations. It is a wonderful city with a marvellous cultural heritage. In promoting it, she did not even emphasise the Beatles that much, which shows that there is an extremely broad and wonderful cultural offer in the city of Liverpool, which is another worthy candidate for Channel 4’s relocation.

My hon. Friend Dan Jarvis is the newly elected Mayor of the Sheffield city region, so may I take the first opportunity to congratulate him publicly on that achievement? He described our debate as a beauty contest. We are all relieved that he did not describe it as an episode of “Naked Attraction”, which I understand is one of the late-night offers on Channel 4—not that I have ever seen it myself. The clarity of his pitch explains why he was so successful in his recent campaign. For a man famous for his gallantry, he was surprisingly easily ambushed by my right hon. Friend Hilary Benn, but he made an excellent pitch on Sheffield’s behalf.

My neighbour, my hon. Friend Stephen Doughty, rightly pointed out that as someone speaking from the Front Bench, I have to maintain a degree of neutrality in relation to the proposed bids. I have to say, however, that he made an extraordinarily powerful, persuasive, compelling, erudite and eloquent case for the capital of Wales as the ideal home for Channel 4’s headquarters. I will say no more than that, in case I get into a lot of trouble with my hon. Friends.