Blackpool super-casino fight gains momentum

With increased pressure being heaped on the government and the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, to rethink the Casino Advisory’s Panel (CAP) decision that Manchester should host the UK’s first super-casino, it is thought that the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, is now backing the drive that supports Blackpool’s case.

Numerous MP’s throughout the country have expressed disbelief at the CAP’s decision, as well as it generating an Early Day Commons Motion signed by over 100 MP’s and a petition signed by more than 9,000 set up by the Blackpool Gazette.

Even MP’s from Manchester believe that the super-casino should go to Blackpool.

"Basically, Blackpool has got regeneration needs," said Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley in Great Manchester.

"Blackpool has nothing else to revive it. A lot of people from Greater Manchester go to Blackpool for breaks or holidays and they would benefit if the resort got a super-casino. I do not believe it would benefit Manchester to have a casino on its doorstep. In the case of Blackpool, people would go to the resort to spend money and then go home,” she added.

The government now face the tough decision of deciding whether to bow to the rising pressure in Westminster and embarrassingly overturn the decision from an independent body they assigned or to stick with the choice of Manchester.

However, it seems as though Tessa Jowell will perhaps need more persuading. At a meeting with Flyde coast MP’s last week she stated she would listen to the arguments put forward for Blackpool’s case but may well still accept CAP’s decision.

"I listened to the concerns they and others expressed carefully and we will consider whether there might be additional opportunities to discuss the panel's work. However, I believe the panel acted with rigour and integrity, and in accordance with its terms of reference, and I am minded to accept its recommendations,” she said.

68 Labour MPs are among the 101 backbenchers who have signed the Early Day Commons Motion.

Editor, - 2007-02-28 10:57:05

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