Tories demand Jowell resign after saying London would not have bid if had known recession coming
Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has come under fire for saying London would not have bid for the 2012 Games if it had known of the impending recession.
Speaking at a dinner for leisure industry bosses on Tuesday, Jowell said: “Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics? Almost certainly not.”
The comments have sparked fury from many quarters. Andrew Boff, the Olympics spokesman for the Conservative assembly group, branded the remarks “utterly irresponsible” and called on the minister to resign.
He said: “In an economic climate where the ability of the government and the Olympic Delivery Authority to attract private investment to fund the Games is already tough, for her to say that it was a mistake to bid for the Games is utterly irresponsible.
“Why should the private sector risk investing millions in the Olympic venues if the minister responsible has no confidence in its long-term viability? If Tessa Jowell doesn't believe in the Olympics, then she should resign and make way for someone who does.”
Meanwhile, London mayor Boris Johnson said the Olympics would prove a “vital shot in the arm for the city”.
The news comes after several Olympic projects, including the athletes' village and the media centre, have been hit by funding problems.
This week it emerged that talks between Igloo, the developer of the Olympic media centre, and the Olympic Delivery Authority had been suspended.