It is utterly inexplicable that the EU waited until after the UK bids were submitted to rule them ineligible. Leeds shouldn’t miss out on hosting European Capital of Culture just because of Brexit. I’m calling on European officials and the Government to take urgent action.

Other non-EU countries have hosted European Capital of Culture in the past and Brexit alone should not cause Leeds to miss out in 2023 -; especially when the city has already spent £1 million on its bid. I along with other MPs, have written to top European official, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, to call for urgent action.

The Capital of Culture bid process has given the city the perfect platform to showcase what Leeds has to offer to Europe and the rest of the world. I urge those involved not to deny Leeds the chance to  boost jobs in the city and grow our economy just because of Brexit. That would be deeply unjust.

Whatever European officials and the government agree, Leeds will continue to promote and support our culture, talent and venues because they enrich our lives and give us pride in our city and culture.

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